There are any number of definitions of what a progressive politician is but, in the American context, one litmus test suffices to weed out virtually all the Democratic Party actors who are not progressive: membership in the DLC. Vampire-like, the Democratic Leadership Council spread their capes to envelop Black Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, the impeccably credentialed progressive candidate for U.S. Senator. As if transfixed, Obama passively allowed the DLC-spawned New Democrats to place his name in their directory.

We’re glad he snapped out of it (See Cover Story, this issue), and trust that the U.S. senatorial candidate’s name will soon disappear from the damnable directory.

In the course of our dialogue with Obama, on June 19 we posed three “bright line” questions designed to distinguish real Democrats (“Yes” answers) from positions taken by the corporatist DLC (“No”):

1. Do you favor the withdrawal of the United States from NAFTA?  Will you in the Senate to introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?  

2. Do you favor the adoption of a single payer system of universal health care to extend the availability of quality health care to all persons in this country?  Will you in the Senate introduce or sponsor legislation toward that end?  

3. Would you have voted against the October 10 congressional resolution allowing the president to use unilateral force against Iraq?

As expected, longtime progressive Obama answered all three in the affirmative.

Associate Editor Bruce Dixon, a Chicagoan now living in Atlanta, worked closely with Barack Obama in early Nineties voter campaigns, and has been on point for in explicating the racist history and sleazy machinations of the DLC.  T.P., a reader who also resides in Atlanta, appreciates Dixon’s work.

Bruce Dixon's penetrating analysis came at a very critical point when election decisions are being made by the citizens of the U.S. For God's sake there have been only a few voices raised in dissent and to lose one as passionate and articulate as Obama would surely ensure the horrifying victory of another international power crazed maniac. Of course, it is pretty obvious that Obama has been affected, as shown by his rather pathetic attempt to deny the charges. One is glad you did not let him off the hook and have challenged him to get the hell out of the good books of the DLC!

Jeff Cohen is on the road a lot, but he took time to write.

I'm the communications director of Kucinich for President, and the founder of FAIR, the progressive media watch group.

I'm a longtime critic of DLC, and Dixon's piece was the best expose yet.

Dixon’s June 12 Cover Story, “Muzzling the African American Agenda – with Black Help: The DLC’s corporate dollars of destruction,” caused Wayne Spencer to banish the DLC from his website.  

I just recently found your site as a subscriber to Global Network. They e-mailed out a piece about the DLC highlighting your recent expose of the DLC. The DLC has been suspect in my mind for some time. When they started throwing barbs at Howard Dean I started looking at them closer and realized that they were more right-wing than I had supposed. I sent them a letter at the time indicating my displeasure and asking them to either begin supporting progressive Democratic candidates or get out of the way. I did not get a response to my letter, but I did publish the letter on my website I removed the link to the DLC but added a link to your site under news media.

for DLC? That’s more than a fair exchange, Mr. Spencer.  

Paul Dean, of Sebastopol, California, agrees that the political lines of demarcation need brightening.  

To all those that contribute to : I just wanted to tell you guys that you are an absolutely class act, in every respect. I have recently become aware of your site, and it is now slated to be part of my regular diet. You are right on the money with your assessment of the DLC, the Bush thugs, your identification of methods used to control, distort and destroy any progressive agenda that might arise, etc. And in addition to your thorough understanding and exploration of the issues, your writers are artistic, creative, articulate and entertaining.

You guys use language like a laser, and with that laser you cut through countless layers of bullshit and rapidly expose the substance within. Further, your point of view seems to be remarkably internally consistent. I loved the piece on Barack Obama and the DLC. You have deftly exposed the essence of the issue, and framed your 'bright line questions' to him in such a fashion as to leave no wiggle room. Absolutely marvelous! The DLC must go. Without a truly powerful third party, there is no hope for democracy and social and economic justice in America when the DLC controls the Democratic Party agenda. All progressives must know this, and any candidate that wants to be taken seriously must steer clear of the DLC subversion. Thank you for articulating this so powerfully.  

Ric Dodson believes the problem is a lot bigger than the DLC.  

Once again I would like to extend my thanks to your publication for a refreshing, intelligent and timely assessment of current conditions in this world and in our nation.

The span of subjects from Blair and the NY Times to domestic and international politics with real critical thinking, is very much appreciated by this reader and subscriber. Thanks!

If I may offer an observation on the furor over the DLC: Have readers considered that as long as this nation remains firmly in the grasp of a two party system there will always be a majority of the citizens and residents left out of the political process? After all, it is easier and cheaper to purchase favor from two political parties that it would be if there were more viable choices that were not marginalized. The plutocracy knows this and strives to maintain this system of control.

The US is the only member of the G-7 with a two party system and it shows! We are becoming more divided as a nation and spending increasingly larger sums of capital for fewer sustainable gains, both domestically and internationally. Our institutions are failing at an alarming rate and the two political parties are steadily maintaining the status quo. This is simply an untenable course for this nation.

Those of us who really care about the future of this nation need to actively develop political alternatives to the two dominant parties. I know it will not be easy, but I am also sure it will be more rewarding than spinning our wheels with current choices in the long run.

Bruce Dixon’s home folks remember him well. Dick Reilly and Christine Geovanis butt heads with corporate evildoers through HammerHard MediaWorks/Chicago and Chicago Indymedia.

Just wanted to write and say how much a bunch of us at Chicago Indymedia appreciate the blistering analysis on Black Commentator. We've especially been enjoying the back and forth on Illinois senate hopeful Barack Obama instigated by our old friend Bruce Dixon. Also, our educational project, HammerHard MediaWorks, has been including your piece on media consolidation in Black radio markets in our skills-share teaching kit (with attribution, of course). We hope that's ok.

Keep up the great work. Your website is a truly precious resource on the web.  

Reilly and Geovanis are referring to our May 29 commentary, “Who Killed Black Radio News?” Or, they might be talking about “Treat Corporate Media Like the Enemy – and no free pass for Black radio,” May 1.  We are partial to both pieces, and pleased that Chicago Indymedia finds useful.  

Blunt imperial instruments  

Watching the Bush men hold forth on foreign affairs is, at times, like dreaming of people already dead. The American hegemonic adventure is utterly and irrevocably doomed, but the architects of the disaster are helpless to do anything but continue down the road to general ruin, oblivious to the actual trajectory of their path. They are, finally, history’s defects, now nearing the end of their grotesque social mutations. The Pirates have set out to conquer the world – in a bubble.  

We said as much in our June 19 commentary, “The Pirates’ Blunt, Useless Instruments: The Iraq occupation cannot possibly succeed.The Bush men fervently believed that:

Once the U.S. military and its corporate camp followers were fully embedded on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the whole of the Eurasian land mass would be open to American power projection. Syria would swing wide the gates to Damascus, lest they be knocked down. Jubilant Iranians would sing Farsi songs in praise of Coca-Cola over Ayatollahs, while contributing their crude to the U.S.-controlled mix. Saudi Arabia would crumble from princely rot, ridding the U.S. of fat royal skimmers of profits rightfully belonging to people of Aramco….  

This is an occupation unlike any other in modern history. Acting solely on greed and delusions, the Pirates dismissed the collective experience of humanity to attempt the occupation of a large and sophisticated society without a reasonable expectation of collaboration from any significant segment of the population. It cannot be done, as confirmed by the daily dispatches from Iraq and beyond….  

The Bush men are unfit to occupy anyone, the worst possible candidates for world hegemony. Like Wile E. Coyote, they are going down.  

Larry Piltz is a writer’s writer, a political satirist who can get real serious when he wants to – yet is very kind to the rest of us.

Ayatollah and Coca-Cola - truly inspired rhyme, practically doubled over laughing, and speaking of colas, how about RC & Farsi, Sprite & Shiite, Dr. Pepper & Dr. Germ? Or, Cluster Cola, with 100 little taste explosions in your mouth - it's coffinated!  Pick some up today.  Now made with no-waste packaging:  turn the plastic six-pack holder into three sets of handcuffs!  

The Wile E. Coyote image, a great parallel, suspended midair out from a cliff, legs churning - brings to mind the Tom Jefferson quote, something about trembling for my country when I realize that God is just.  U.S. of Acme. USA!  USA!

 "Dismissed the collective experience of humanity" - well, well put, it's stunning that this is so true.  Like they're taking the whole world through their middle-age crazy, but it turns out it's the Middle Ages crazy.

Texas on the Tigris, too, too funny.  Did you hear the Texas legislature just mandated daily pledge of allegiance for all public school students, as well as pledges of loyalty to the State of Texas and the free enterprise system?  "I pledge allegiance to the flag and to Ayn Rand's America". Texas on the Tigris indeed.  How about Fascist Germany on the Rio Grande?

And all this toddleresque flagwaving comes right on the heels of putting Homeland Security on the tail of the Democratic state legislators.  Nope, neither shame nor fairness lives in these ideologue twanging burgher freaks. Maybe it's because they know they already have their God's forgiveness in advance.  Coming from a state whose very existence was due to land theft - and proud of it - I suppose you can't expect much better.  

Nobody spins words like Larry Piltz. But Pete Rorvik is the model of efficiency.  

Somebody should have had their name on this one. It's one of the most brilliant and informative pieces I've seen on the problem.  

Unsigned commentary is a collaborative product. We use several brains at once.  

Black Male-Bashing  

We looked forward to some thoughtful responses from the readership when we published Joseph Anderson’s June 12 Guest Commentary, “Right Hook at the Bell! Bell Hooks’ Black male-bashing.” Anderson used hooks as a straw woman to counter those who depict Black males as, “at root, not only fundamentally different, but uniquely pathological, uniquely predatory (especially sexually) and misogynist - in Hooks' words, sexually immature, traumatized and dysfunctional.”  

Among those who stepped to the plate is Ms. Trineka D. Greer, a composition instructor and graduate student in the Department of English at Pennsylvania State University.  

I am really torn about how I feel.  I do have a major problem with how African American females in the academy and otherwise are constantly made to feel like we are race traitors if we call Black men on issues related to gender.  Perhaps, some go about it in ways that offend folks but at least they are starting a dialogue.  And quite frankly, some folks need to be offended into action.  If you ask some Black women, you will find that many us have as many complaints about the way Black men (sexism) treat us (individually and as a system of treatment) as we have about "The Man" (racism).  Most of us have had more Black men call us bitches, whores, chicken-heads (and treat as such) than we have had white people call us "nigger".  Unfortunately, we often remain silent because of the hostility that we receive from Black men.

On the other hand, I agree with the author in his opinion that bell hooks needs to "tighten up".  Dr. hooks often represents information as fact without substantiating her claims with research and documentation.  However, I just read an article about sexual abuse of Black males and their research, which is documented and accessible, substantiated that this is a huge "unspoken" problem.  The movie "Antwone Fisher" was about the trauma caused by the abuse of young Black boys and how this pathology contributes to many of the problems that Black men experience.  A good friend of mine who is a licensed counselor, explained that the majority of all Blacks who get therapy or counseling do so because it is court mandated.  This is unfortunate and I think many more of us need to come to grips with that.

Finally, I really disdain Black and White comparisons.  You know, when people say things like "if they don't do it to white people, why do they do it to Black people?" etc.  I believe this type of rhetoric and evaluation is really limiting.  So it did unnerve me that Mr. Anderson continually made this move throughout his article.  My answer to his question is that perhaps somebody should assert that white men's penchant for choosing trophy wives is also pathological. Maybe that would satisfy him and make it OK to make the same assertion about Black men.  I am a little disappointed that he spent so much time berating Dr. hooks and virtually no time discussing the problems, both psychological and spiritual, that plague Black folks...  Perhaps he could have discussed why so many Black men mimic the unsavory behaviors and attitudes of their white male counterparts (i.e. good old boy clubs, sexual harassment, etc.).  Whatever the case, more Black men need to be taking the issue of sexism and gender-based oppression more seriously.  As a Black Feminist, it unnerves me how oblivious some Black men and women for that matter are to these problem.  Look, Black women have been feminist or infused feminism into their every day and ordinary actions (i.e. Sojourner Truth, Anna Julia Cooper, Angela Davis, etc.) long before white feminists ever invited "us" to speak at one of their meetings.  

The racist disinformation network  

Jacqueline Bacon’s excellent piece on racially hostile media survived two months of inattention, its shelf life sustained by the depth of Bacon’s analysis. “Disrespect, Distortion and Double Binds: Media treatment of progressive black leaders,” was commissioned by Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and reprinted by on June 19.  

Media commentators should avoid name-calling, stereotypes and other distractions from substantive discussion about ideas or proposals; represent people’s ideas and statements fairly; and portray their actions and beliefs accurately. Sadly, when it comes to African-American leaders who challenge the status quo, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Rev. Al Sharpton and professor and author Cornel West, these standards are frequently violated – including, in some cases, by African-American commentators.  

Reader Suhas Malghan connected with Bacon’s piece, immediately.

No sooner had I read Jacqueline Bacon's article on your site did I come across this article on Rev. Sharpton on the Salon site.  I shall let it speak for itself.
Salon, June 20 “The skeletons and suits in Sharpton's closet,” Jake Tapper.

readers should be forewarned. Those that are not registered for Salon’s premium offerings will endure 15 seconds of a commercial – a tolerable experience – only to be subjected to Jake Tapper’s relentless racism. Tapper – an incompetent, like most of his ilk – uses Sharpton's complaints about vicious media distortions (and outright lies) as an excuse to perpetrate more of the same.  

The Selling of Academic Political Science

Bruce Dixon’s open letters to Profs. Bullock, Boone  

In August of last year, Denise Majette defeated Rep. Cynthia McKinney in a Georgia Democratic primary in which Majette stood in for the missing white candidate. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the rest of national corporate media had framed the race as a battle between the spent remnants of the civil rights era and an emerging, independent, more conservative Black “middle class” – represented by Majette.  

Soon after the polls closed, it became apparent that the only thing unusual that had occurred was an extraordinary white turnout, augmented by an unknown but hefty Republican crossover. Other than that, DeKalb County showed itself to be like most other Dixie jurisdictions – racially polarized. Whites voted ninety-plus percent for their surrogate candidate, Majette. McKinney was the overwhelming Black favorite.  

Finding itself at odds with the facts, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution invented a fraudulent “study” to prove that its pre-election coverage and predictions had been accurate – that Majette had won a quarter to a third of the African American vote. had already concluded that this was a mathematical impossibility, and Associate Editor Bruce Dixon proved it. His analysis showed that Majette could not have received more than 19 percent of the Black vote – that there was no “biracial coalition” in support of Majette. The Black Consensus had embraced McKinney.  

During and after the campaign, the AJC and the national corporate media repeatedly called on two academics for political insight: Charles Bullock, of the University of Georgia, and Clark-Atlanta University’s William Boone. Both could be depended on to echo the newspaper’s discredited position, that Black DeKalb County was politically fractured along class and age lines. They served their purposes, if not their professions.  

Except among readers of , the AJC was no doubt confident that its lie would stand. However, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used to say, “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” As reported on June 12:  

The crime has come back to haunt the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In reporting that McKinney's people were filing papers for a return match, the AJC was compelled to share the results of a study by University of Georgia professor Charles Bullock, one of the paper's regular quote men. During the campaign and its immediate aftermath, Bullock had given credibility to the Majette "biracial coalition" myth. Later, however, he conducted his own study, and found that Majette had garnered only 17 percent of the Black vote - entirely consistent with 's analysis, which had bent over backwards to give Majette the benefit of the doubt whenever questions of voters' race arose.  

Prof. Bullock advised Majette that what she “needs to be doing is getting out, courting in the black community, trying to broaden her coalition because she did so poorly in her community."  

However, Bruce Dixon won’t let Bullock escape his own complicity in the AJC’s propaganda. The same goes for Boone, who didn’t bother to prove himself wrong, but may wish that his role be forgotten. Below are Dixon’s letters to the two corporate media quote men.  

Professor Bullock,

We note with interest you are quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution of June 5 pegging Denise Majette's percentage of the vote in last August's primary election at about 16%.  That matches what I got too, as you might know from reading my article last November in Black Commentator, and directly contradicts your assertion quoted in the Washington Post of August 23 that "The politics of polarization finally caught up with her, and she was defeated by a candidate who was able to build a biracial coalition." 

Your public advice of June 5 to Majette to get out there and start making friendly among black voters who are the majority of eligible voters in the 4th district is also nothing you'd need to tell the builder of a "biracial coalition."  It is, however, exactly what you might tell a black candidate who got elected with 90-95% of the white vote and only a sixth of the black vote last time, a candidate who rode to office not on any "biracial coalition," but rather on a big white vote that she may not be able to count on this time.
Congratulations for coming around, Professor Bullock.  What did it for you, the figures?  And with all due respect, why didn't you see those eight or nine months ago?

Professor Boone,

We noted with some interest a story in the June 5 AJC in which your colleague Professor Bullock of UGA appears to have reassessed his analysis of what contributed to the victory of Denise Majette over Cynthia McKinney in the 4th CD GA Democratic primary election last August.

Back then he was saying (about McKinney) that, "The politics of polarization finally caught up with her, and she was defeated by a candidate who was able to build a biracial coalition." 

You apparently agreed, having been quoted around that time in an AP story saying the following:  

"There was a change in DeKalb, and Cynthia didn't pick up on it," said William Boone, a political scientist at historically Black Clark Atlanta University. "There's a growing Black middle class here, a middle class that is much, much different from the Black middle class of the civil rights era. Cynthia had the civil-rights-era politics down pat. But the voters were looking for someone more focused in the issues, not just someone who is Black and will look out for them." (Associated Press, August 22, 2002.)

Well, now Professor Bullock has reversed himself.  In the June 5 AJC story he says that Majette got no more than 16% of the black vote, a number so small that Majette might have narrowly won without a single African American vote.  Professor Bullock does not speculate on the percentage of the white vote Denise Majette would have needed to make up the rest of her numbers, but in the Black Commentator analysis last November we save you both the trouble.  Denise Majette appears to have received 90 to 95% of the white vote in the 4th district.

So Professor Bullock seems to agree with us, and with the math.  If Majette received only one black vote in six, just where is your emerging "black middle class" cohort in Dekalb County, a middle class "...that is much, much different from the Black middle class of the civil rights era..." We ask you.  Where, indeed?


Bruce A. Dixon

Just to avoid giving Bruce the last word, we’ve saved Mano Singham’s letter as the kicker. Readers will note that Dixon’s name is not mentioned, once.  

Thank you for creating such a great website. I found it through a link from Counterpunch some time ago and it is now bookmarked for regular reading. It is not often that one finds such brutally frank analyses of current events. The tone of your site reminds me of the attitude of IF Stone who said:  

"It's just wonderful to be a pariah. I really owe my success to being a pariah. It is so good not to be invited to respectable dinner parties... To be regarded as nonrespectable, to be a pariah, to be an outsider, this is really the way to do it. To sit in your tub and not want anything. As soon as you want something, they've got you!"  

It looks like you don't want anything and don't expect anything from the powers-that-be.  

On a practical note, I am writing a book on the educational achievement gap between black and white students in the US. I came across a good quote in that I would like to use:  

"The starting point of American racism is the assumption that white people and their institutions represent the proper, normative standards against which all other people and institutions are judged. Once the white normative assumption is internalized, a racist worldview flows from it as surely as water to the sea, polluting every social space in its path."  

This appeared in The Black Commentator, Issue number 42, May 15, 2003.

Should I give credit for the quote to just the website or is there a name that you would also like to credit?  

Keep up the good work!  

Thank you, Mano Singham. We will all take credit, as it should be.  

Keep writing.  

gratefully acknowledges the following organizations for sending visitors our way during the past week:

Democratic Underground

Black Electorate

Black Planet

Take Back The Media

Smirking Chimp

Black Voices

Institute for Global Communications

Liberal Oasis

Mike Malloy: Speaking Truth to Power

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Issue Number 48
June 26, 2003

Other commentaries in this issue:

Cover Story
Obama to Have Name Removed from DLC List: Says "New Democrats" acted "without my knowledge"

Blind, Deaf, Dumb and Deluded: White America unfit for global role

Bubble USA

Republicans Go to Bat for Predatory Lenders
by Maude Hurd, National President of ACORN

Up Close - Zimbabwe
A Speech by Cynthia McKinney

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Contents of Issue 47 June 19, 2003:

Cover Story
Not "Corrupted" by DLC, Says Obama - Black U.S. Senate candidate responds to BC critique

The Pirates' Blunt, Useless Instruments - The Iraq occupation cannot possibly succeed

Borg Queen

Two too many Powells... McKinney on comeback trail... Black male-bashing syndrome... The GOP, the DLC, and hyenas

Disrespect, Distortion and Double Binds: Media treatment of progressive black leaders by Jacqueline Bacon

You can read any past issue of The Black Commentator in its entirety by going to the Past Issues page.