Chicago is attempting to take back the Illinois Senate seat
held for one term (1992 - 1998) by Democratic Presidential candidate
Moseley-Braun. The arithmetic says State Senator Barack
Obama is the man to beat in a crowded Democratic primary field,
newly enlivened by Republican incumbent Senator Peter Fitzgerald's
last week, not to run for another term. Blacks comprise about
one-third of Illinois Democrats.
politics is nothing if not "fluid." Moseley-Braun
rode to victory on the strength of a massive Black and Hispanic
voter registration and get-out-the-folks campaign in 1992, then
spent six uneventful years dissipating the excitement. She toyed
with the idea of a Senatorial comeback, before allowing herself
to be persuaded by anti-Al Sharpton Democrats like the Democratic
National Committee's Donna Brazile that she had a higher calling.
complicated Rev. Sharpton's life, but left the African American
field wide open to Obama, who has the backing of Black Chicago
Congressmen Danny K. Davis and Jesse Jackson, Jr. Rep. Jackson
felt compelled to preface his reaffirmation of support for Obama
with a disclaimer. "For those who wonder if I'm interested
in filling Sen. Fitzgerald's seat, I am not. I remain honored
to serve the people of the 2nd Congressional District and strongly
support State Senator Barack Obama for U.S. Senate."
who was the first Black president of the Harvard Law Review,
must be rated as the instant front-runner for the Democratic
nomination, on the sheer weight of Black party enrollment, alone.
vs Stephanopoulos: hair-raising confrontation
Obama's numbers look good, Al Sharpton's South Carolina prospects
are ideal. Forty percent of the state's Democrats are Black,
and African Americans comprised 60 percent of voters in the
last Democratic primary. On the face of things, it would appear
that the Great White Hope in the February 3 primary - the first
batch after New Hampshire's January 27 starting gun - will be
the Caucasian American who comes in number two. Certainly, that's
how the corporate press will play it. (See "What
the Black Presidential Candidate Must Do," in
and the whole Democratic posse, including cardboard candidate
Moseley-Braun, face off in televised debate in Columbia, South
Carolina, May 3. The forum is sponsored by ABC, with blow-dried
"This Week" host George Stephanopoulos the lone questioner
- a formula for corporate theater with the candidates as props.
This will be Rev. Al's chance to show that he can outmaneuver
the primping corporate spin man, as well as outtalk the other
candidates. Indeed, Sharpton's closest oratorical competitors
are the two white anti-war candidates, former Vermont Governor
Howard (the vacillator) Dean and Cleveland Congressman Dennis
(the real deal) Kucinich, whose speeches are righteous poetry.
chief dislikes public schools
Black Democrats engage in battle to convince voters in their
base and beyond that they are the right men and women for the
job, Republicans offer salaried Black role models in a can.
The results can be embarrassing to those of us who cannot help
but feel ties of empathy and history, even for the enemy's hirelings.
Secretary Rod Paige is a distracted man - his mind is not on
public education. Appearing before a Senate appropriations committee,
Paige had to consult a cue card to answer a simple line of questioning
about rural education, put forward by Republican Pennsylvania
Senator Arlen Specter. Paige strung nonsense sentences together
about "accountability," finally provoking Specter
to interject, "Mr. Secretary, how does accountability bear
on eliminating the funding for a program?" Nothing substantive
escaped Paige's lips. Senator Specter finally gave up, saying
he'd wait for a written answer. Paige was glad about that. "Absolutely,"
replied Paige, as reported by the Houston
Press. "I look forward to that because I think there
is far more at ease with white Southern Baptists. Two weeks
ago, Paige told their denominational press he favors private,
Christian education because, "all things equal, I would
prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation
of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have
a strong faith. When a child is taught that, there is a source
of strength greater than themselves."
other words, he does not like public schools.
another religious event, the man who sits on billions of dollars
of the public's money explained that, "in a religious
environment the value system is set. That's not the case in
a public school, where there are so many different kids with
different kinds of values."
Rod Paige doesn't like public school children. Self-hatred
in a can.
Bush's Black front men must be held to special account - that
is, punished by any means within our power - they are
but devil dogs to the Great Scoundrels they serve. Cincinnati
educator, journalist and businessman James E. Clingman paints
a damning picture of the people
calls Pirates, leaders of "a country that is willing to
sacrifice its children's education for more smart bombs."
Prof. Clingman sent the whole Bush crowd to Hades in a BlackPressUSA
we have ushered in a new era. The moneychangers have subscribed
to the notion that building more smart bombs is more important
- and more profitable - than building smart children. Remember
the old Doritos commercial on television? I can see some Jay
Leno impersonator in Washington saying, "Go ahead, use
as many as you like; we'll make more." Well, we are also
making dumb children. But who cares about that? We'll just
put them in our nice private prisons - and throw away the
me another billion dollars," Cheney says to Bush. "They
won't miss it." George asks, "What ever happened
to my No Child Left Behind policy, Dick?" Cheney mused,
"We didn't leave any behind, Mr. President; they are
all in jail. Hey, you wanna send 'em some smart bombs for
was one helluva year, begetting a slew of anniversaries memorable
for the broken promises of 35 years ago. When first enacted,
the Fair Housing Act prohibited discrimination based on race,
color, religion or national origin, and has since been expanded
to include gender and family status. Seventy-two percent of
complaints still come from African Americans, although filings
by people of Middle Eastern and Asian descent rose from 10 percent
to 12 percent in 2002, in the wake of September 11, according
to a report of the National
Fair Housing Alliance.
filed 25,246 federal housing bias complaints in 2002. Yet alliance
president Shanna Smith says that represents only one percent
of all cases of discrimination. The obvious conclusion is that
victims of discrimination have no confidence that they will
get relief from federal authorities. The assessment is backed
up by 35 years of evidence.
Nixon won the Presidency in 1968 with a "Southern Strategy"
that drew big business and white racists under the same umbrella.
As a sop to African Americans, and in hope of creating a Republican
wedge in overwhelmingly Democratic Black ranks, Nixon launched
a minority business enterprise offensive, including set asides
for minority contractors. States and cities followed the federal
ideological soul mates of the present administration set out
to dismantle Nixon's legacy, root and branch, turning the language
of equal opportunity on its head.
protection under the law means that governments cannot discriminate
against individuals on the basis of race or gender," said
Kent, president of the Southeastern Legal Foundation, one
of a gaggle of Hard Right anti-affirmative outfits with connections
straight to Bush's inner circle. "This is a very well-settled
area of the law."
already savaged minority-contracting programs in Atlanta, Nashville
and Charlotte, Kent's crew is taking on the state of North Carolina
- the first time they have challenged a state program under
the U.S. Supreme Court "strict scrutiny" guidelines
for combating discrimination. Essentially, the foundation claims
that minorities and women in North Carolina cannot prove they
are entitled to the 10 percent of highway contracts awarded
in 2001 - 02, a paltry $36.3 million.
that this is a fight to the death, minority business supporters
are planning boycotts and other actions against corporations
that contribute to the Southeastern Legal Foundation, which
they describe as "a total enemy of the black community."
a partial list of the SLF's foundation funders, check out Media
Transparency. They are the same rich bigots that crafted
George Bush's domestic and foreign policies, the seed
money dispensers of the Pirate network.
"new conservatism" ushered in by the Bush administration
is the biggest obstacle to quality health care for Black Americans,
said Johns Hopkins University Medical School associate
dean Dr. Levi Watkins. Addressing a Founders Day gathering at
historically Black Tennessee State University, in Nashville,
Watkins said, ''There exist unfair and unwarranted obstacles
for many minorities - African-Americans, elderly - to get health
care even when you have the same degree, same insurance, same
economic status.'' Watkins attended Tennessee State before becoming
the first black graduate of Vanderbilt School of Medicine.
action," declared Dr. Watkins, "I went to Vanderbilt
to a recent report of the Association
of American Medical Colleges, the number of Black, Hispanic
and Native American students training to become doctors will
plummet if affirmative action programs are outlawed by the High
the Justices hand down their decision in the suit against the
University of Michigan Law School's diversity program later
this year, the effects will reverberate across the academic
landscape of the nation. "Without race-conscious admissions
policies," said the association, "medical schools
would be unable to increase the number of minority physicians
necessary to serve America and its ever-growing minority population,
expand areas of academic research, and raise the general cultural
competence of all physicians."
one man dealt with the U. Michigan Klan
1966 engineering student Roger Witherspoon confronted racism
in the raw at the University of Michigan. No sooner had the
17-year-old, barely 100 pound freshman set foot on the Ann Arbor
campus, than he was run over by a motorcycle, denied treatment
at the University Hospital, and threatened repeatedly with death.
His only ally was a Jewish student named Tom.
had two hunting knives. I gave one to Tom and we each took
half the dorm. We tried every doorknob. If it was unlocked,
we opened it. If anyone was on the phone, we cut his cord.
If they balked, we threatened to cut them and were prepared
to do so.
entered the room with the student with the flags and made
him take down the Confederate battle flag. I cut it up.
later asked why I hadn't cut down the Nazi flag as well.
"That's not my issue, Tom. I'll deal with the Klan, you
deal with the Nazis."
soon - and how foolishly - some of us forget. The same people
who tormented young Witherspoon in the most liberal town
in Michigan, where he found only one white person who could
claim to be a human being, dominate civil society, today. Did
tens of millions of epiphanies occur since 1966? If so, where
are they written?
is now a staff journalist at the Westchester, New York Journal.
His full account is available at Counterpunch.
trade unionists mobilize
is the most right-wing President since Ronald Reagan occupied
the White House," said Coalition
of Black Trade Unionists President Bill Lucy, rallying CBTU
members against Bush's "undeclared domestic war against
diversity and racial progress." The coalition is the nation's
largest Black labor organization, with 50 chapters in the U.S
not only opposes affirmative action, he also has rolled back
workers rights, cut programs that help poor families and turned
his back on the fiscal and urban crisis gripping states and
cities," said Lucy, who is also Secretary-Treasurer of
the 1.2 million-member American Federation of State, County
and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). "It's the message, not
the messenger, that lacks credibility here. It's about achieving
a truly diverse society, not pushing America backward, that
should be the President's aim."
dismissed Bush's Black appointees as "ornaments of diversity."
White House attempts to appoint right-wingers to the federal
bench "confirm an unmistakable pattern of deceit and hostility
toward civil rights."
partner in the Living Wage Movement, the giant Service Employees
International Union (SEIU), may soon hit the streets of Washington,
DC. SEIU's Justice for Janitors campaign has proven its ability
to wage simultaneous battles on behalf of largely immigrant
workers in Boston, Los Angeles, northern New Jersey, and Chicago.
DC's 4,000 janitors' contract with the city's building managers
runs out April 30.
members are absolutely committed," said Valarie Long, president
of the SEIU Local 82, in an interview with the Washington
Post. "They see that every other major market has fought
this battle and won. Nobody wants to go on strike, but people
also don't want to be backed into a corner of living the way
typical janitorial worker in Washington makes about $8 an hour,
with little or no benefits. It would cost only pennies per square
foot of office space to meet SEIU's demands.
has a long way to go to catch up to 1968. The state's constitution
remains riddled with Jim Crow law, including provisions requiring
segregated schools and poll taxes. Federal courts have already
struck down most of the segregation-era law, but Alabama politicians
could never bring themselves to undo the work of their fathers.
Not that Alabama's whites minded tinkering with the constitution
- it's one of the longest and most amended in the nation.
Sen. Wendell Mitchell, a sponsor of the measure, told the Washington
Times, "It's something we should have done a long time
ago, to remove all those vestiges of racial reference in our
constitution. It's something we need to clean up."
supremacy is embedded much more deeply in the American national
character than words
in a state constitution. In a breathtaking sweep through continental
carnage, Southern Connecticut State University Professor Ira
M. Leonard concludes that non-domestic violence has killed or
wounded 2 million Americans over the centuries - most of them
people that white Americans did not consider to be full human
beings. A much longer version of Prof. Leonard's January speech
to the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences is available
titled "Violence is the American Way." It is a ferocious
story, the blood soaked Birth of a (Deformed) Nation.
is the extent of mob violence? Indiana University Historian
Paul Gilje, in his 1997 book, "Rioting in America,"
stated there were at least 4,000 riots between the early 1600s
and 1992. Gilje asserted that "without an understanding
of the impact of rioting we cannot fully comprehend the history
of the American people."
to the nitty-gritty: How many victims did riots and collective
violence claim over the 400-year American historical experience?
can never accurately be known, considering it includes official
and unofficial violence against Native American Indians, African-Americans,
Mexican-Americans, Asians and untold riots, vigilante actions
and lynchings, among other things.
a conservative guesstimate of, perhaps, about 2,000,000 deaths
and serious injuries between 1607 and 2001 (or about 5,063
each and every year for 395 years) seems a reasonable - and
quite conservative - number for analytical purposes, until
more precise statistics are available.
least 753,000 Native American Indians were the intended victims
of warfare and genocide between 1622 and 1900 in what is now
the United States of America, according to one scholar. The
number for African-Americans might equal or exceed the estimate
for the Indians, 750,000.
total number of deaths for all other forms of collective violence
seems well under 20,000. The greatest American riot, the New
York City Draft Act riots of July 1863, resulted in between
105 and 150 deaths, while the major 1960s riots (Watts, Los
Angeles, Newark, N.J., and Detroit, Mich., accounted for a
total of 103 deaths,
and the 1992 Los Angeles riot claimed 60 lives. The estimate
of deaths from the 326 vigilante episodes is between 750 and
1,000. Approximately 5,000 individuals were known to have
been lynched between 1882 and 1968, and about 2,000 more killed
in labor-management violence.
as this sounds - and it is horrendous - this 2,000,000 figure
pales when compared to the major form of American violence
which historians have routinely ignored until very recently.
Historians of violence have largely ignored individual interpersonal
violence, which, in sharp contrast to group violence, is very
frequent, sometimes very personal - and far deadlier than
1997, two distinguished legal scholars, Franklin Zimring and
Gordon Hawkins, compared crime rates in the G-7 countries
(Canada, England, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United
States) between the 1960s and 1990s in their book, "Crime
Is Not The Problem: Lethal Violence In America Is." Bluntly,
they stated their conclusion: "What is striking about
the quantity of lethal violence in the United States is that
it is a third-world phenomenon occurring in a first-world
now that same America pounces upon the world, presuming fitness
to rule based on nothing more than that which it showed the
Indian and the slave: brute force. American morality
is expressed in one sentence from a Washington Post article
18: "The U.S. military has said it has no plans to
count the number of Iraqi civilians killed in the three-week
war.... " Among the pro-war supermajority, there is not
a trace of human concern or connectedness with the people of
Iraq. This deformity of soul must extend to the entire region
and beyond, since the supermajority knows nothing of geography
or world culture, investing itself with the totality of what
it recognizes to be human.
is Race War. Underlying economic motives provide the reasons
for the aggression, but do not define the character of the conflict.
The continuous settler wars against Native Americans were motivated
by greed for free land, but in character, they were wars of
extermination. The constant aggressions of the slave trade and
the domestic maintenance of slavery were motivated by a desire
for free labor, and for the profits of trafficking in human
flesh. But the character of the enterprise was racial predation,
centuries of Race War. War is what it is, not what the
aggressors claim or hope it to be. The objective facts of war
are not dependent on the realization of either party's goals,
but are defined by the actions of the participants. No Indian
was ever killed by a crooked land deal, nor was a single African
enslaved by any contract between two bankers in London. Their
fates were sealed in wars defined by race.
The Great American Mobilizer
Pirates who lead United States can only achieve their goals
through the familiar modalities of Race War. The supermajority
may deride French fries, but they are willing to cook Iraqis,
just as they did Vietnamese. There is no majority for an oil
or dollar war. Racism unites the majority in a Race War. Therefore,
that is the kind of war we get - complete with plantation nomenclature:
New York Times, April 22, "U.S. Overseer Vows Quick Restoration
of Iraq's Services"
San Francisco Chronicle, April 22, "U.S. overseer tours
carries the baggage of history. In this case, the weight is
unmistakably packaged and felt as The White Man's Burden.
Bush men may be too white for the load. Joint Chiefs
Richard Myers speaks of "the new American way of war"
before he has occupied most of Baghdad. Discounting the other
party in the conflict - the Iraqis he was only days before killing
with abandon - he pronounces this new "way of war"
a success. Only by eliminating Iraqis from the equation can
Myers achieve this leap of logic. He is rendered incompetent
to the task before him, the not yet begun job of occupying a
and his colleagues do loathe the prospect of further conventional
warfare against Iran or Syria in the near term. They can count
tanks and airplanes and even Arabs and Persians, if they are
grouped in regiments and divisions.
history professor and author Paul Kennedy, in an April
20 Washington Post opinion piece, noted that U.S. ground
power is at the limits of its reach.
is small wonder that while liberals protest soaring defense
expenditures, the U.S. military repeatedly warns of overstretch
and is dismayed at the hawkish calls for further adventures;
in the recent war on Saddam Hussein's regime, part or all
of eight of the 10 U. S. Infantry divisions were tied down
in Iraq or standing by to go there.
American deployment were not based on racist assumptions - that
the Iraqis are incapable of acting upon their own vision, or
of having a vision - the Bush men and their generals would be
terrified. Yet they make plans for establishing bases in four
specific places from which they will shuttle forces to and from
bases in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the region in order to
project forces outward - while Iraqi society awakens all around
them. General-diplomat Colin Powell talks more like a human
being than the rest, but he's carrying The Burden, too. "We
have been successful in Iraq," said Powell. "There
is a new dynamic in that part of the world."
the U.S. has unleashed a "new dynamic" - but it sees
and hears only its own motions and words.
Kristol, editor of the Pirate rag, The Weekly Standard and an
architect of the New American Century, understands that the
U.S. military is structurally exhausted. But Kristol believes
he knows the minds of the region's natives. For the time being,
writes Kristol, the U.S. can get by using "the psychological
leverage" created by American "victory."
is as if the natives have nothing to do but play at American
games, rather than their own. Kristol shares with the rest of
the Bush men an innate belief that they are the motive forces
of history - no, the only forces shaping history. They
can imagine nothing else. Therefore, they will always be taken
by surprise, and will only prevail in situations they can fight
their way out of. Custer was like that, until his last stand.
Pirates lack discipline. Intent on employing "psychological
leverage" on lesser beings, they confuse each other and
the populace on whom they depend to sustain their war. "We
are in a regional struggle and...it is impossible to win the
war on terrorism so long as the regimes in Syria and Iran remain
in power," said Michael Ledeen, of the American Enterprise
Institute. "The good news is that both are vulnerable to
really does not matter if such threats are meant for domestic
audiences, for Syria and Iran, or as part of some intra-Pirate
maneuvering. The people of the region and wider world hear Ledeen,
assume that he speaks for powerful circles (he appears on powerful
media), despair of meaningful negotiation with the Americans,
and prepare for the worst. The American pro-war supermajority
hears noise about more places they cannot picture and, having
taken years to fix two demons in their minds (Saddam and bin
Laden) in the space where billions of people should be, begin
to wilt like exhausted or drunken sports fans.
national dialogue of empire is empty of content, incapable of
sustaining the project over time. Bill Clinton sees that. In
an curiously under-reported speech to the Conference Board,
circulated by Agence
France Presse, the former President said, "Our paradigm
now seems to be: something terrible happened to us on September
11, and that gives us the right to interpret all future events
in a way that everyone else in the world must agree with us.
And if they don't, they can go straight to hell."
sounds to us like Clinton, who nobody ever called stupid, is
talking about delusional behavior.
Rice, who should be aware that her National Security Advisor
voice carries into foreign capitals, cavalierly offers her formula
for dealing with the not-so-great powers. "Punish France,
ignore Germany and forgive Russia." Does she think her
boss has defeated these three nations, too? What possible advantage
did she purchase for the United States through such contemptuous,
Rice trying her hand at unleashing her own "new dynamic,"
possibly? Again, it does not matter what Rice thinks she is
doing. What she has actually contributed to is the "dynamic"
of global recoil from and counter move against the United States.