Friday, May 30, 2008

The majority rules, when we say so

Speaking of American citizens voting by race, in 2006, in New York City, all hell broke loose when black Congressman Major Owens announced he would not run for another term in the House of Representatives. Owens had represented Brooklyn's 11th District for two decades. His unexpected retirement sent the black political machine into a frenzy, as meetings were quickly called to plan strategies that would insure another black's ascendance to Owens' seat. And when white City Councilman David Yassky declared his candidacy for the post, calls for ethnic solidarity began in earnest.

Prominent blacks worked to galvanize support for the black candidates who had stepped into the ring, and made no bones about the fact that they were determined to prevent a white from obtaining Owens' seat. Blacks, of course, were allowed to be outright in their disdain for the white Yassky, as the New York Times' headlines matter-of-factly blared, "Black Leaders Fear the Loss of a House Seat." (In today's Times, is it likely that we might see the headline: White Leaders Fear the Loss of the Presidency?)

In Brooklyn, black apologists justified their blatant bias on the basis of the 58% majority of blacks in the 11th district, compared to 21% white. One wonders if, in today's voting climate, votes for the U.S. Presidency also can be justified on this basis, with the country's majority population still around 72% white. Majority rules?

David Yassky, who had maintained a decent record as a fair legislator, was vilified as being fueled by "ambition and opportunism." Because Shirley Chisholm had first won the seat in 1969, the district was viewed as having "historical" significance to blacks and, therefore, should be held only by blacks. The pandering Times actually spoke of the "emotional importance" of keeping blacks at the helm.

It was more than inferred that somehow the Voting Rights Act itself was under attack by the very candidacy of the white Yassky. It was kind of amusing to hear people like Rev. Karim Camara suggest that Yassky should not run himself, but should consider how he might earn "a place of higher esteem," if he agreed to support a black candidate. Oh, have the decency to quit, Yassky!

Yassky kept his cool and ran an issues-based campaign, ultimately losing to black City Councilwoman Yvette Clarke.
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Rejection of a celebration, No place for morals, and the Persevering Professor Finkelstein

In May, the 60th anniversary of the founding of the state of Israel was celebrated. Although many Jewish organizations joined in the celebration, there were individual Jews who found little to commemorate. In a letter, on April 30, to the Guardian newspaper in England, 104 such individuals wrote, "It is now time to acknowledge the price paid by another people for European anti-semitism and Hitler's genocidal policies." Jews have the Holocaust, the writers continued, while the Palestinian people memorialize what they call Naqba, the invasion and takeover of their homes and territory in 1948.

In the U.S., the names of David Garfinkel, Tanya Bronstein, Heinz Grunewald, Michael Kalmanovitz or Yehudit Keshet may ring no bells, but these prominent Britons should be commended for what should not be, but is a courageous act -- just for writing a letter and signing their names.

Read the letter here.
• • •

And then cold reality is restored by Yehezkel Dror in The Forward (5/15/08), a man who tells it like it is – as if we haven't observed for decades the very behavior he describes. In his text below, try substituting "Jewish people," "Jewish nature," "Jewish state," with the name of any other ethnic group, and see how it works for you. How about substitutes like "Euro-white" or "caucasian" or "gentile?"

When Survival of the Jewish People Is at Stake, There’s No Place for Morals

By Yehezkel Dror

There is little disagreement that every Jewish leader, organization, community and individual has a duty to help ensure the continuity of the Jewish people. But in a world where the long-term existence of the Jewish state is far from certain, the imperative to exist inevitably gives rise to difficult questions, foremost among them this: When the survival of the Jewish people conflicts with the morals of the Jewish people, is existence worthwhile, or even possible? ...

Clear external and internal dangers threaten the very existence of Israel as a Jewish state. It is very likely that the collapse of Israel or the loss of its Jewish nature would undermine the existence of the Jewish people as a whole. ... Regrettably, human history refutes the idealistic claim that in order to exist for long, a state, society or people has to be moral. Given the foreseeable realities of the 21st century and beyond, harsh choices are unavoidable, with requirements of existence often contradicting other important values. ...

In short, the imperatives of existence should be given priority over other concerns -- however important they may be -- including liberal and humanitarian values, support for human rights and democratization. This tragic but compelling conclusion is not easy to swallow, but it is essential for the future of the Jewish people. Once our existence is assured, including basic security for Israel, much can and should be sacrificed for tikkun olam. But given present and foreseeable realities, assuring existence must come first.

Read complete article here.
• • •

And then there is the persevering Norman Finkelstein. Where does this man get his energy, spirit, and downright bravado? Talk about nerve and gall, the man has testosterone to spare. From the day he blew the whistle on the Holocaust reparations racketeers in his book The Holocaust Industry, to his exposure of the fabrications and outright lies of Israel's apologists in Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History, it's been a non-stop ride for him.

As reward for his outspoken truthtelling, Princeton University tried to deny Finkelstein his well-earned doctorate, smear campaigns made it almost impossible for him to get teaching posts, publishers have been pressured by his opponents from publishing his books, and he was denied tenure at DePaul University. Yet he relentlessly journeys onward.

There have been Finkelstein types among blacks – those who blew whistles on the hustlers and charlatans among us. You might say that, among blacks, Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey, were the original whistleblowers – as the two fiercest challengers of the NAACP and other cabals, whose clever, sophisticated black elites used the historical suffering of their own people to rise to prominence.

And there have been modern day whistleblowers against the likes of Jesse Jackson, whose disgraceful shakedowns of companies he and his cronies managed to pull off, in the name of "racial justice." Washington and Garvey fought to dispel the poisonous propaganda lapped up by eager whites, whose only concern was (and is) to be on the "correct" side of the race issue. As they say so boldly in Canada, "Truth is no defense."

In the case of Norman Finkelstein, the late Professor Raul Hilberg, who was considered the ultimate authority on Holocaust studies (a field he co-founded), endorsed Finkelstein's book about reparations abuses, and declared, "I was saying the same thing, and I had published my results in that three-volume work [his final edition of The Destruction of the European Jews], published in 2003 by Yale University Press, and I did not hear from anybody a critical word about what I said, even though it was the same substantive conclusion that Finkelstein had offered." It matters not.

Professor Avi Shlaim of Oxford University, a leading authority on Arab-Israeli conflicts, says of Finkelstein, "I consider him to be a very impressive and a very learned and careful scholar." It matters not.

To follow news of the indefatigable Norman Finkelstein's writings and latest misadventure, i.e., his deportation from Israel, visit his website here, and also see here.
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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Playing the intimidation card

It takes Pat Buchanan to nail what is going on in this primary election period. "The Clintons are today," he writes, "victims of a double standard that has long been employed against conservatives." Just pointing out a racial reality, whether cultural or statistical, is "playing the race card," if you're not in the Obama camp.

In his column, "Race Cards and Speech Codes," Buchanan asserts that Hillary Clinton cannot even make the simple observation, "I can win – and my opponent can't." In almost every election campaign, which candidate has not said something similar, or those very words, about his/her opponent? Buchanan claims, "The argument was made against Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan." Against the tender feelings of a black man, however, the mere statement, "I'm better than he is," is now a taunt.

And which candidates have not assessed the racial/ethnic/economic backgrounds of particular constituencies? How could a candidate resist measuring such data? Why would any candidate ignore it? White college educated vs. white working class vs. poor black vs. black middle class – whatever. Buchanan asks how Hillary can describe her Ohio-Pennsylvania coalition without using the dread word "white."

Then he gets to the real force that has made the Obama candidacy feasible and now works to protect him, that is, the media, whose efforts he correctly calls "sinister." It's not the Clintons who are playing the race card, says Buchanan, rather the media "and some black journalists with sentimental, emotional or ideological investments in Obama are playing the intimidation card." As I have written before, members of the media insist on proving what whores they are. They spent eight years as unquestioning purveyors of George W. Bush's propaganda, from the White House to the public, thereby condoning his horrific and inhumane foreign policies. As power slips away from the Republicans, these media elites now want, once again, to be on the winning side. To them, that means the bandwagon of Barack Obama. Indeed, why not create the bandwagon, and then ride it?

Buchanan persists in referring to the "liberal media," a term coined by disgruntled rightwingers. He is wrong to believe that there is an ideological foundation to the antics engaged in by most mainstream media types. There is, no doubt, a small cadre of die hard believers in progressive politics, some of whom, in an earlier life, were attached to political campaigns. But, on the whole, these "journalists" strive only to belong to those inner circles where they can seek out the powerful, to assure the aggrandizement of careers. Members of the White House press corps have been disdained as Bush's "stenographers," a depiction that fits them perfectly.

Buchanan says of the media, "They are setting limits around what may and may not be said about Obama. They are seeking to censor robust adversarial speech where Barack is concerned, by branding as racists 'playing the race card' any who make Barack run the same paces as anyone else." Mustn't put the black man through the same paces as any normal white candidate. You can't expect him to be subjected to the rude, rough give-and-take of national politics.

Not only is it dangerous for whites to reject the Obama glow, Buchanan quotes Washington Post reporter Darryl Fears, who claims that standing in the path of Obama's campaign is also dangerous for prominent blacks. With such intimidation in the air, what else can a future voter do when being polled, except to lie or dissemble, while claiming to support the country's hottest Rock Star?
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stung by the word "white"

To observe that blacks are voting in mass for a black man, only because he is black, is considered acceptable conduct and even praiseworthy. Yet, to bring up the reality of race, when it's clear that many whites prefer to vote for white candidates, is a sign of "racism" and unmitigated bigotry. How could anything except outright racial bias account for Barack Obama getting 91% to 98% of the vote of a single ethnic bloc?

How have so many whites allowed themselves to be supportive of double standards that mock them, and represent nothing more than a strategy on the part of those who are determined to usurp power from those already in power? On the liberal Ed Schultz's radio show, a male caller, identifying himself as white and an "employee of the Pentagon," claimed that he supports Barack Obama for President. You could hear in his voice his pride in declaring Hillary Clinton wrong for her comments about the preferences of particular white voters for a white candidate. By golly, he isn't that kind of white bigot!

Similarly, a white woman caller to Bill O'Reilly's radio show expressed her indignation over Hillary Clinton's reference to whites. The very word "white," the caller confessed, "stung" her. In typical fashion, she seemed eager to show her intolerance of any sign of bigotry against minorities. As a good, card-carrying non-racist, she probably has no problem with speculations on the voting patterns of blacks or other colored ethnic groups. I suspect had Hillary used "white" in a pejorative manner, that is, to bash whites as a group, this good, white lady would have joined in the bashing.

These callers are typical of whites who are so happy to publicly remove themselves from the taint or even suspicion of bias for their own kind, while asserting their acceptance and even devotion to the coloreds. How, in one breath, can anyone declare how wonderful it would be to elect the "First!" BLACK President, yet in another breath proclaim as racists those who wish for a white President? Once race has been made the focus of intention by any side, it has to be accepted as a major factor on both sides. If you can say, I prefer black, why can't you say, I prefer white?

Political analyst Paul Begala is right in his observation that his Democratic party cannot win the presidency "with just eggheads and African-Americans." However, in this uniquely American race circus, such indisputably true insights are forbidden. In this country, in every election, demographics are scrutinized, with emphasis often being placed on the importance of the "ethnic" vote. Politicians brazenly fall all over one another to reach out to blacks and Hispanics for support. To reach out in a similar way for white support, however, is to engage in the evil "southern strategy," for which Ronald Reagan has never been forgiven.

[It cannot be lost on anyone that it is Begala's party, with its emphasis on racial-multicultural politics, that is now causing grief for the left. Watching liberals eat their own is becoming common these days. For me, the first demonstration of this phenomenon has been occurring over the last half-dozen years on the leftwing Pacifica Network's New York radio station WBAI, where a cabal of blacks has usurped the reins of power from the white rad-libs – the very people who opened the doors to them in the first place. But that ongoing saga is for another post.]
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Moving on up to the White House

Not only are Americans expected to cautiously toe the line when approaching the dangerous subject of race, here is yet another concern to keep in mind in the ongoing quest of finding ways to keep blacks content.

An editorialist on worries over "disillusioned" blacks, who must daily face the "saddening possibility" that there might never be a black who serves as the country's President. One wonders how the nation's Chinese-American citizens make it through each day, living with the possibility of never seeing one of their own as President. Is it a painful condition? And how has the country's Jewish population managed to live with the "saddening possibility" that a Jew might never serve as President? Do they exist in a "disillusioned" state of mind?

Some apologists even blame the slow progress of the black masses on the lack of a black President as "role model." Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, who has been known to write sensible treatises [he has the right handle on "hate crime" laws], in the case of Barack Obama, becomes yet another enamored journalist. Citing crime among blacks as an "urgent" problem, in one of his weirdest columns to date ("Taking the Call on Black Men"), Cohen claims that Obama would be best suited to answer that proverbial 3:00 AM phone call to the White House -- if it pertained to the inordinate numbers of homicides committed by black men.

His reasoning, if such it can be called, goes like this: Because Obama could be a role model to young black men, he is "uniquely qualified" to meet the challenge posed by their criminal behavior. Cohen does not explain, however, why black criminal behavior has failed to be modified by those role models who are closer to the citizenry than the distant President, that is, all those Mayors of cities – from Harold Washington to David Dinkins to Sharpe James to Marion Barry to Kwame Kilpatrick, and many more too numerous to mention. Cohen also does not explain why he skips over the most important and influential role models in young people's lives, like the adults who live within their own homes. Are blacks the only group whose good behavior is dependent on the indulgences of politicians?

It's one thing for devious black elites to try to make entry into the White House yet one more necessary step in the black journey of "moving on up." It's quite another to watch as foolish whites buy into this disingenuous sentiment – as though blacks are on some kind of inevitable sojourn that ultimately must lead to the Oval Office. It's about power, and nothing else.
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Why isn't John Edwards the candidate?

I never understood just what the problem was between the liberals who control the Democratic party and John Edwards and his populist message. Why was he not their ideal candidate?

Michael Brendan Dougherty offers his take on what went wrong with the Edwards candidacy in "Progressively Irrelevant" (The American Conservative, 2/11/08). He tells of dead coalitions that cannot be revived and of an altered social and political world. "The problem for Edwards was that progressives and only progressives embraced him," writes Dougherty.

In 2004, when Edwards first ran for the presidential nomination, he won the South Carolina primary. He got half the white vote and over a third of the black vote. But this time around, in South Carolina, he won only 2% of the black vote and did not do well among the working whites who earn under $30,000, a major target of his campaign. Edwards' populist appeal failed spectacularly, claims Dougherty, because "the Democratic coalition he sought to capture has changed dramatically from the time of the New Deal and cannot be reconstituted."

That liberal alliance, which once consisted of rural whites, trade unionists, European immigrants, and recently enfranchised blacks, no longer exists. Dougherty explains: "Today, where the party is white, it is less working class. Where it is working class, it is less organized and more divided into competing racial categories. Where it is unionized, it is not private-sector and is thus less insecure about its economic future."

It's been obvious for some time that it's a new day in the story of unions and organized labor. In 1960, 37% of private-sector workers were unionized, but by 2003, this figure had dropped to just over 8%. Dougherty reports that public-sector unions now make up half of organized labor. These people are teachers, policemen, firemen, and government bureaucrats, who have guaranteed pensions and other perks. "Whereas the old power of organized labor appealed to an American sense of fairness in sharing wealth, the new public-sector dominated unions seek only to expand their benefits and insulate themselves from private competition."

Not to be overlooked is the decline in Democratic allegiance among white men, a pattern that has been going on since the days of John F. Kennedy. In 2004, only 36% of this demographic voted for John Kerry. Dougherty observes: "As Thomas Edsall has pointed out, since 1960, the Democratic share of voters employed in the professions 'has doubled from 18% to 35%, whereas the share of the Democratic vote made up of lower-income skilled and non-skilled workers has dropped from 50% to 35%.'"

And then there are those "values" voters, who don't easily fit into economic categories. These are liberals who are committed to particular social ideals and a host of beliefs and behaviors that are the result of the sexual revolution. Dougherty suggests that Edwards lost out among this group, because he demonstrated reticence about such issues as gay rights, which "makes him an oddity in elite Democratic circles."

Without the old alliances and coalitions to help him, "Edwards found out the hard way that the past is useless to a Democratic nominee." Both political parties have been transformed by what Dougherty calls "the long re-alignment of the South and the Northeast and the migration of the working class to the GOP." Describing Edwards' campaign as "funereal," Dougherty writes, "His defeat in the primaries signals the end of a long-held progressive hope: that the social and racial politics that began tearing apart the FDR coalition could be overcome and a left-liberal majority could again be built out of the white working class, together with blacks, immigrants, and women."

Ancient allegiances have faded away, along with formerly durable political bonds and, as the country's demographics continue to change, there is no chance that old alliances will ever again be reinvigorated. John Edwards and his supporters either could not recognize or could not accept the evidence that an era has come to an end.
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Bill Clinton as warmonger

Author William Blum claims that Americans who feel outrage at the "Bush crime syndicate's foreign policy" should not lose sight of his predecessor's criminal dealings abroad. In "Don't Look Back: Who Said Clinton Didn't Kill Anybody?" (CounterPunch), Blum outlines the Clinton administration's interventions around the world that would warm the heart of any lover of George W. Bush. Here are thumbnail sketches of just a few described by Blum:

Yugoslavia – Contrary to the administration's lies, the great exodus of the people of Kosovo resulted from Clinton's bombing, not Serbian "ethnic cleansing."

Somalia – Presented as a mission to help feed the starving, the Clinton administration not only took sides in this clan-based civil war, but tried to eliminate particular warlords. Attempts by the Americans to kidnap clan leaders resulted in the loss of thousands of Somali lives.

Sudan – The Clinton administration unnecessarily destroyed an important pharmaceutical plant that produced 90% of the drugs used to treat Africa's most deadly illnesses – all due to a rumor that the plant manufactured chemical weapons. (Today's pernicious excuse for destroying property and possessions in other people's lands.)

Sierra Leone – Clinton sent Jesse Jackson to act as his envoy to give greater power to the corrupt Liberian president Charles Taylor, well known for his human rights atrocities against his opponents and for supporting the Revolutionary United Front, a band of government-sponsored cut throats.

Iraq – And, of course, Clinton continued the horrendous economic sanctions against the Iraqi people, devastating almost every aspect of their lives, resulting in the deaths of thousands.

These are just five of the countries described by Blum as negatively impacted by the foreign policy of Bill Clinton. After citing several more of the President's destructive exploits, he reminds us of another horrendous Clinton intervention right here at home, that never had to happen. "And let's not forget the massacre at Waco, Texas," where a blundering, incompetent federal government caused the deaths of over 80 innocent people.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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The integration fixation

Booker Rising, a popular black website, recently published a chunk of copy from a post on this blog, entitled, "The downside of integration." A spirited discussion ensued in the forum concerning blacks and integration, including the following comment, which I think is noteworthy:

Posted by Al From Bay Shore (4/21/08):

I think integration was a disaster. I often wonder what would have happened if we had taken a more nationalistic approach to seeking liberation rather than equality. I'd much rather have people calling for a salary cap in baseball, because of the out of control spending of the Homestead Grays, rather than to celebrate Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. For me, integration has resulted in black existence playing second fiddle to the larger society. I often wonder what would have happened if black athletes made black colleges their first choice or if John Hope Franklin had stayed at Morgan State.

There was so much wealth within our community in terms of human capital and we squandered it by running to be a part of white institutions. If we had actually gotten past our emotional reaction to Booker T. Washington's use of the term "accommodate" and, as a whole, applied all his ideas and approaches, we would be where integration was supposed to take us.

The integration mindset has burdened us with a crop of approaches (i.e., civil rights and its leadership) that seek to find solutions outside of our communities AND each time an attempt is made to self-critique, the dialogue is often railroaded towards a discussion on what other entities have done to us. We've even gotten to a point where we question the blackness of people who try to have these dialogues. If anything, one can argue that the insistence upon integration is a fixation on white people and a belief that black folks are incapable of individual success.
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