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Rudy's Amazing Facts

Huria Search—Discover the Global Black CommunityHuria Search improves the internet experience for people looking for content created by the GBC and to help support the efforts of those websites. Websites thrive when they can be found.  Higher visibility allows websites to earn more revenue, attract better writers, garner more visitors who interact with the website and provide valuable promotion. . . .  Huria Search is financed by donors and developed by volunteers.  This site is completely driven our collective mission to support the global Black community.  List of Sites Included in Huria Search's Index

Troy Johnson Assessing the Black Press  / Troy Johnson founded in 1998 the African American Literature Book Club (AALBC)

Government Cuts Heating Assistance to 1 Million Homes—Claudio E. Cabrera—7 January 2012—It's going to be a cold winter for many across the nation. Congress and the White House have cut heating assistance to nearly 1 million homes in the Low Income House Energy Assistance Program [LIHEAP]. The program, which provides families with incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty line, or 60 percent of a state's median income, will be reduced in funding by 25 percent. Most households receive an average of $417 a month for heating expenses.

LIHEAP reached nearly 9 million households in 2011, and at least one member of each family who applied for the subsidy was older than 60, younger than 18 or disabled. A gallon of heating oil costs $3.83 and is at the highest its been since 1990. . . . A few members of Congress battled the cuts in this bill. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) urged the White House to set funding at $4.7 billion for his forthcoming 2013 budget proposal. The senators wrote a letter to the president that included the following: Even though the number of households eligible for the program continues to exceed those receiving assistance, this funding has been a lifeline during the economic downturn and rising energy costs, helping to ensure that people do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food or medicine." The cut in funding in this legislation is just another example of the have-nots being shafted by the government.—TheRoot

Occupy Wall Street Turns a Corner—Michael Greenberg—18 November 2011—Various protesters told me of the use of pepper spray and freewheeling beatings with batons. Retired Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Karen Smith, acting as a legal observer at the park, told the Daily News of “a black woman standing next to me…frantically telling the cops her daughter was in the park and she wanted to make sure the girl was okay. All of a sudden, a cop takes his baton and cracks her in the head. She hadn’t done a thing. Then they started chasing people down the street.” City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, who tried to get to the park after the raid had started, was arrested with blood flowing from a gash in his forehead. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, and by Tuesday night he had yet to be arraigned or permitted to see his lawyer. And so the tenor of the eviction could be pieced together. At 6:30 AM Tuesday morning—just hours after the police removed the last protesters from the park—lawyers for Occupy Wall Street had managed to wake up Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings, a former ACLU lawyer, who signed a temporary restraining order prohibiting the city from “preventing protesters from re-entering the park with tents and other property previously utilized” until the city could show cause for the eviction. The case would be argued later in the day, in front of another judge, Michael Stallman, who had been chosen randomly by computer. In the meantime, despite Judge Billings’s order, police kept the park barricaded and closed. . . . Others feel it opens the door to a new, more effective structure. The larger question the movement now faces is whether, without Zuccotti Park (and dozens of other occupation sites around the country that have been similarly raided) it will be able to hold the focus of its supporters. The movement has been re-energized. It has turned a corner. But to where?—NYBooks

Demise of the Dictators

In lands that have been plundered and tyrannized, the Arab Revolution of 2011 has been smoldering for decades. What finally turned resignation into rebellion.

Historians of revolutions are never sure as to when these great upheavals in human affairs begin. But the historians will not puzzle long over the Arab Revolution of 2011. They will know, with precision, when and where the political tsunami that shook the entrenched tyrannies first erupted. A young Tunisian vegetable seller, Mohamed Bouazizi, in the hardscrabble provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, set himself on fire after his cart was confiscated and a headstrong policewoman slapped him across the face in broad daylight. The Arab dictators had taken their people out of politics, they had erected and fortified a large Arab prison, reduced men and women to mere spectators of their own destiny, and the simple man in that forlorn Tunisian town called his fellow Arabs back into the political world.. . .

There is no shortage of autopsies of the Arab condition, and I hazard to state that in any coffeehouse in the cities of the Arabs, on their rooftops that provide shelter and relief from the summer heat, the simplest of men and women could describe their afflictions: the predator states, the fabulous wealth side by side with mass poverty, the vanity of the rulers and their wives and their children, the torture in countless prisons, and the destiny of younger men and women trapped in a world over which they have little if any say.

No Arabs needed the numbers and the precision supplied by “development reports” that told of their sorrows, but the numbers and the data were on offer. The Arab Human Development Report of 2009—a United Nations project staffed by Arab researchers, the fifth in a series—provided a telling portrait of the world of 360 million Arabs. They were overwhelmingly young, the median age 22, compared with a global average of 28. They had become overwhelmingly urbanized: 38 percent of the population lived in urban areas in 1970; it was now close to 60 percent. There had been little if any economic growth and improvement in their economies since 1980. No fewer than 65 million Arabs were living below the poverty line of $2 a day. New claimants were everywhere; 51 million new jobs have to be created by 2020 to accommodate the young. Tyranny kept these frustrations in check. Eight Arab states, the report stated, practiced torture and extrajudicial detention. And still, the silence held. Bouazizi and his deed of despair brought a people to a reckoning with its maladies.Newsweek

The MatrixPresident's Forum with Young African Leaders   /  Troy Davis about to be killed by the state of Georgia  / Eduardo Galeano: Mirrors: Stories

China, Twitter and 20-Year-Olds vs. the Pyramids—by Thomas L. Friedman—5 February 2011—The Arab world has 100 million young people today between the ages of 15 and 29, many of them males who do not have the education to get a good job, buy an apartment and get married. That is trouble. Add in rising food prices, and the diffusion of Twitter, Facebook and texting, which finally gives them a voice to talk back to their leaders and directly to each other, and you have a very powerful change engine. I have not been to Jordan for a while, but my ears are ringing today with complaints about corruption, frustration with the king and queen, and disgust at the enormous gaps between rich and poor.

King Abdullah, who sacked his cabinet last week and promised real reform and real political parties, has his work cut out for him. And given some of the blogs that my friends here have shared with me from the biggest local Web site, Ammonnews.net, the people are not going to settle for the same-old, same-old. They say so directly now, dropping the old pretense of signing antigovernment blog posts as “Mohammed living in Sweden.”—NYTimes

Update

New Job Means Lower Wages for Many—August 31, 2010—With the country focused on job growth and with unemployment continuing to hover above 9 percent, comparatively little attention has been paid to the quality of the jobs being created and what that might say about the opportunities available to workers when the recession finally settles. There are reasons for concern, however, even in the early stages of a tentative recovery that now appears to be barely wheezing along.

For years, long before the recession began, job growth had become increasingly polarized in this country. High-paid occupations that require significant amounts of education and training grew rapidly alongside low-wage, service-type jobs that do not, according to David Autor, a labor economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The growth of these low-wage jobs began in the 1980s, accelerated in the 1990s and began to really take off in the 2000s. Losing out in the shuffle, Dr. Autor said, were jobs that he described as “middle-skill, middle-wage” — entry-level white-collar positions, like office and administrative support work, and certain blue-collar jobs, like assembly line workers and machine operators.

The recession appears to have magnified that trend, Dr. Autor wrote in a recent paper, released jointly by the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning policy group, and the Hamilton Project, which has a more centrist reputation.—NYTimes

Justice Department aims to help overhaul New Orleans police force—By Sandhya Somashekhar—August 1, 2010—In the five years since the storm, the department's standing has worsened. Eager for a turnaround, the newly elected mayor did something nearly unthinkable for someone in his position: He called in the feds. . . . "I have inherited a police force that has been described by many as one of the worst police departments in the country," Mayor Mitch Landrieu wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. earlier this year. "The police force, the community, our citizens are desperate for positive change." . . .At least a dozen Justice experts have been dispatched to New Orleans to assist with a top-to-bottom overhaul aimed at strengthening the department's ability to police itself, Perez said. They have applauded some of the changes instituted by the new chief, who was installed by Landrieu and has hired a civilian to head the internal affairs office and adopted a no-tolerance policy toward officers caught lying. . . .At the same time, the city's homicide rate has risen to the highest in the nation. WashingtonPost

My Soul is anchored: poems from the mourning Katrina national writing project -- now on sale

US wealth gap grows between races—A new study has found that the gap in wealth between white and black Americans increased by more than four times between 1984 and 2007. The study released by the Institute on Assets and Social Policy (IASP) found that African-Americans who earn substantial incomes have been unable to increase their net worth. In 23 years, the gap rose by $75,000 (£52,000), from $20,000 to $95,000. The study suggested these figures reflected public policy in the US. IASP found that public policies in the US benefited the wealthiest people, through tax cuts on investment income and inheritances, and disadvantaged others through discrimination in housing, credit and labour markets. BBC

 The Importance of Civil Disobedience in Post-Katrina New Orleans By Elizabeth Cook  Katrina New Orleans Flood Index

Court has allowed CEOs to ruleJeff Kern11 February 2010The 14th Amendment was created at the end of the Civil War to grant basic rights to freed slaves. Over the years it has been used by corporate interests to extend additional rights to businesses far more frequently than to freed slaves.

Before 1886, U.S. law called corporations "artificial persons." After a series of cases concerning rail-road interests, an "activist" Supreme Court ruled that corporations were "persons" and entitled to the same rights granted to people under the Bill of Rights. Since this ruling, America has steadily lost the legal structures that allowed people to have some control of corporate behavior.
 

As a result, corporations exercise a role today that was once limited to kings and feudal lords. Trans-national corporations, including those infamous Wall Street banks, control most of the world's wealth and exert power over the lives of most of the world's citizens. These corporations have no allegiance to nation, culture or moral value. Their executives are unapproachable and lead lives of nearly unimaginable wealth and luxury. Their focus is only on wealth—growth and profit at any expense. Now we have crossed the Rubicon; they now have unfettered access to the political basis of governance. Soon these corporate behemoths will be able to flaunt the same feudal powers that Americans escaped long ago.CentreDaily

Obama's Plan to Reform the CIA—Who’s In Charge Here Anyway?—So I’m interviewing a city hall insider about Ken Gibson. “Why doesn’t he control the police? Why isn’t he bringing about reforms?” And the brother tells me, “Listen. When Kenny got into office he goes into the office of Dominic Spina, the Mafioso chief of police, the Black-hating, gun-toting, racist mf who we all wanted out of there. So before Kenny can open his mouth Spina takes out his gun and says, ‘Look, congratulations on getting elected. So let me tell you how it’s gonna be. I am the general of an army. I am armed, my folks are armed. Do you have an army? Who will protect you? I tell you what, I will. I’ll make sure somebody doesn’t shoot you. In return, stay the fuck out of the Police Department business. As long as you know you work for me everything will be fine.”

So, I imagine that is what Obama’s conversations are like with the CIA and I know he is a tougher guy then Ken Gibson. But the structural challenge remains. I hope the best for Obama, I really do, I think he is an amazing version of himself and I strive to be as good at my strategy as he is at his. I strive to be as good an organizer as he is, as he out-organized McCain and Hillary and now my job is to both ally with and at times, try to out organize him.
EricMann

Jeremy Scahill: Blackwater is Still in Charge, Deadly, Above the Law and Out of Control—On June 3, Jeremy Scahill's bestselling Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army was released in fully revised and updated paperback form. The new edition includes reporting on the now-famous Nisour Square massacre on Sept. 16 of last year, in which Blackwater mercenaries opened fire in a Baghdad neighborhood, brutally murdering 17 Iraqi civilians. The killing spree, which the U.S. Army would label a "criminal event," would reveal the extent of the lawlessnewss enjoyed by private contractors abroad and the lengths the Bush administration will go to protect its private army of choice. Antonia Juhasz caught up with Scahill on the phone the day the new edition was released. A fellow at Oil Change International and author of The Bush Agenda, Juhasz is also the author of the forthcoming book The Tyranny of Oil: The World's Most Powerful Industry, and What We Must Do to Stop It. Juhasz and Scahill discussed, among other topics, the story behind Blackwater, congressional inaction, radical privatization, Barack Obama, corporate vs. independent media, GI resistance in the age of private mercenaries, getting real about challenging corporations and the power of dissent. Alternet

Updated Iraq Survey Affirms Earlier Mortality Estimates—Mortality Trends Comparable to Estimates by Those Using Other Counting Methods As many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions, according to a survey conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Al Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. The deaths from all causes—violent and non-violent—are over and above the estimated 143,000 deaths per year that occurred from all causes prior to the March 2003 invasion..JHSPH 600,000 Iraqi dead The estimated number of deaths in the study, conducted by Johns Hopkins University and published today in the British medical journal Lancet is at least 10 times higher than any previous estimate and suggests that nearly 1 in 40 Iraqis has died over the last 3 1/2 years as a result of the war. . . . The Johns Hopkins' findings are dramatically higher than previous estimates of Iraqi deaths, ranging from the numbers that the United Nations began to compile this year, to a death toll reported by the Internet-based Iraq Body Count (Iraq Body Count) , which is run by academics and peace activists in Britain and the United States. SFGate

World Oil Demand Flat, Prices Boom—As detailed in an earlier article, a conservative calculation is that at least 60% of today's $128 per barrel price of crude oil comes from unregulated futures speculation by hedge funds, banks and financial groups using the London ICE Futures and New York NYMEX futures exchanges and uncontrolled inter-bank or Over-The-Counter trading to avoid scrutiny. US margin rules of the government's Commodity Futures Trading Commission allow speculators to buy a crude oil futures contract on the Nymex, by having to pay only 6% of the value of the contract. At today's price of $128 per barrel, that means a futures trader only has to put up about $8 for every barrel. He borrows the other $120. This extreme "leverage" of 16 to 1 helps drive prices to wildly unrealistic levels and offset bank losses in sub-prime and other disasters at the expense of the overall population. . . . Washington is trying to shift blame, as always, to Arab OPEC producers. The problem is not a lack of crude oil supply. In fact the world is in over-supply now. Yet the price climbs relentlessly higher. Why? The answer lies in what are clearly deliberate US government policies that permit the unbridled oil price manipulations.  Global Research

The New Organizers, Part 1: What's really behind Obama's ground gameThe "New Organizers" have succeeded in building what many netroots-oriented campaigners have been dreaming about for a decade. Other recent attempts have failed because they were either so "top-down" and/or poorly-managed that they choked volunteer leadership and enthusiasm; or because they were so dogmatically fixated on pure peer-to-peer or "bottom-up" organizing that they rejected basic management, accountability and planning. The architects and builders of the Obama field campaign, on the other hand, have undogmatically mixed timeless traditions and discipline of good organizing with new technologies of decentralization and self-organization. . . . Good organizing changes the world. In fact, it's what humanity is made out of. Every one of us is the product of centuries upon centuries of the struggle between good organizing and bad organizing. Barack Obama-through the most incredible, random, beautiful, twists of history-has brought good organizing back. God bless him and the army of volunteer and paid organizers who are making it real. HuffingtonPost

Harvard University Announcement—No Tuition Cost for the Poor—Harvard University announced over the weekend that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families will pay no tuition. In making the announcement, Harvard's president Lawrence H. Summers said, "When only 10 percent of the students in Elite higher education come from families in lower half of the income distribution, we are not doing enough. We are not doing enough in bringing elite higher education to the lower half of the income distribution." If you know of a family earning less than $60,000 a year with an honor student graduating from high school soon, Harvard University wants to pay the tuition. The prestigious university recently announced that from now on undergraduate students from low-income families can go to Harvard for free...no tuition and no student loans! To find out more about Harvard offering free tuition for families making less than $60,000 a year visit Harvard's financial aid website at: http://www.fao.fas.harvard.edu/ or call the school's financial aid office at (617) 495-1581

Obama wins backing of Senate dean Robert ByrdByrd, 90, was one of five Democratic "superdelegates" to endorse the Illinois senator Monday and add new momentum to his drive to capture the party's presidential nomination from Hillary Clinton. The distinguished dean of the Senate went public with his endorsement despite his state of West Virginia voting overwhelmingly for the former first lady last week. Both Clinton and Obama were "extraordinary individuals," [Robert} Byrd said in a statement. But he stressed: "I believe that Barack Obama is a shining young statesman, who possesses the personal temperament and courage necessary to extricate our country from this costly misadventure in Iraq, and to lead our nation at this challenging time in history. "Barack Obama is a noble-hearted patriot and humble Christian, and he has my full faith and support," said Byrd, who has served in the Senate since 1959 and has long since renounced his youthful dalliance with the Ku Klux Klan, the secret, white supremacist group -- known for their distinctive white robes and pointy hats -- which has terrorized blacks and other minority groups since immediately after the US Civil War. Google  Image by Charles Siler

No Oil, No Reconstruction—On Thursday, May 24, the US Congress voted to continue the war in Iraq. The members called it "supporting the troops." I call it stealing Iraq's oil - the second largest reserves in the world. The "benchmark," or goal, the Bush administration has been working on furiously since the US invaded Iraq is privatization of Iraq's oil. Now they have Congress blackmailing the Iraqi Parliament and the Iraqi people: no privatization of Iraqi oil, no reconstruction funds. This threat could not be clearer. If the Iraqi Parliament refuses to pass the privatization legislation, Congress will withhold US reconstruction funds that were promised to the Iraqis to rebuild what the United States has destroyed there. Ann Wright What Congress Really Approved: Benchmark No. 1: Privatizing Iraq's Oil for US Companies

National Security AgencyThat capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. Telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. There would be no place to hide. If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology. I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capability that is there to make tyranny total in America , and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.—Sen. Frank Church, chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence in 1975

The West Against the Rest?—A Buddhist Response to “The Clash of Civilizations”—The Cold War victory of the West means that capitalism now reigns unchallenged and so has been able to remove its velvet gloves. Because capitalism evolved within a Christian culture, they have been able to make peace with each other, more or less, in the contemporary West. Christ’s kingdom is not of this world, we should render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and as long as we go to church on Sunday we can devote the rest of the week to this-worldly pursuits. From some other more traditional religious perspectives, however, the values of globalizing capitalism are more problematical. Buddhism, for example, emphasizes that in order for us to become happy our greed, ill will and delusion must be transformed into generosity, compassion and wisdom. Such a transformation is difficult to reconcile with an economic globalization that seems to encourage greed (producers never have enough profit, advertising ensures that consumers are never satisfied), ill will (too busy looking out for “number one”!), and delusion (the world—our mother as well as our home—de-sacralized by commodifying everything into resources for buying and selling). Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Inherent Powers, Ignoble History Make New Idea Anything But Innocuous—At the beginning of the last century American philosopher George Santayana famously observed: "Those who can't remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The U.S. House recently confirmed that Santayana's warning about the danger of repeating the history we don't, can't or won't remember applies not only to ordinary mortals in the last century but to members of Congress in this century, too. Under media radar, the Democrat-sponsored "Prevention of Violent Radicalism and Homegrown Terrorism" bill (H.R. 1955) passed the House at the end of October by a vote of 404 (including the entire Minnesota delegation) to 6. The bill was tagged as noncontroversial by the House leadership and is pending before the Senate. For those senators and citizens who remember history, the bill should be controversial, indeed. . . . According to the bill, "homegrown terrorists" can be anyone who "intimidate(s) or coerce(s) the United States government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social belief," a definition broad enough to include Americans who organize mass marches on Washington to "coerce" changes in government policy. Peter Erlinder. CommonDreams

Super Tuesday— Race gender divide Democratic voters—Three in 10 blacks said race was an important factor in choosing a candidate. About one in 10 whites said so. Most of those whites back Clinton, while blacks considering race overwhelmingly backed Obama, the Illinois senator. Only one in five men and a quarter of women said they considered the candidates' genders. Both groups voted predominantly for Clinton. . . . In the end Tuesday, 53 percent of both whites and females supported Clinton, along with a 63 percent of Hispanics, which helped tip the balance for her in states like California, New York and New Jersey. . . . Three in 10 Obama voters Tuesday were black, compared with one in 20 of Clinton's. He won three of the four states where at least a quarter of the voters were black, prevailing in Alabama, Delaware and Georgia but losing Tennessee. Blacks made up less than one in five voters nationally Tuesday. Clinton's strength has been among lesser-educated, lower-income Democrats, while Obama has run stronger among those with college degrees and higher earnings. The pattern plays out across race and gender, with Clinton doing better among blacks and men with less education and Obama doing better among Hispanics and women with college degrees. Yahoo.com

Black Male Oppression in USA Deepens --The share of young black men without jobs has climbed relentlessly, with only a slight pause during the economic peak of the late 1990's. In 2000, 65 percent of black male high school dropouts in their 20's were jobless — that is, unable to find work, not seeking it or incarcerated. By 2004, the share had grown to 72 percent, compared with 34 percent of white and 19 percent of Hispanic dropouts. Even when high school graduates were included, half of black men in their 20's were jobless in 2004, up from 46 percent in 2000. Incarceration rates climbed in the 1990's and reached historic highs in the past few years. In 1995, 16 percent of black men in their 20's who did not attend college were in jail or prison; by 2004, 21 percent were incarcerated. By their mid-30's, 6 in 10 black men who had dropped out of school had spent time in prison. In the inner cities, more than half of all black men do not finish high school.

Erik Eckholm, Plight Deepens for Black Men, Studies Warn. NYTimes

Apology would comfort black residents, who make up 14.5 percent of New Jersey's 8.7 million residentsNew Jersey had one of the largest slave populations in the Northern colonies and was the last state in the Northeast to formally abolish slavery, not doing so until 1846. The state didn't ratify the constitutional amendment prohibiting slavery until January 1866, weeks after it became law, having rejected ratification in 1865.NJ lawmakers consider slavery apology

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development plans to tear down more than 4,600 public housing units in four complexes across the city -- while replacing them with private, mixed-income developments that will set aside only 744 apartments for low-income people. The decision to demolish these public complexes, which suffered only relatively minor damage during Hurricane Katrina, comes as rents across the city have doubled since the storm -- as has the homeless population. The activists are asking concerned citizens across the country to join the actions in New Orleans or to take action at home. According to a statement from Kali Akuno, director of the Stop the Demolition Coalition: What is at stake with the demolition of public housing in New Orleans is more than just the loss of housing units: it destroys any possibility for affordable housing in New Orleans for the foreseeable future. Without access to affordable housing, thousands of working class New Orleanians will be denied their human right to return. Southern Studies

Race and the transformation of criminal justiceAccording to a 2005 report of the International Centre for Prison Studies in London, the United States—with five percent of the world’s population—houses 25 percent of the world’s inmates. Our incarceration rate (714 per 100,000 residents) is almost 40 percent greater than those of our nearest competitors (the Bahamas, Belarus, and Russia). Other industrial democracies, even those with significant crime problems of their own, are much less punitive: our incarceration rate is 6.2 times that of Canada, 7.8 times that of France, and 12.3 times that of Japan. We have a corrections sector that employs more Americans than the combined work forces of General Motors, Ford, and Wal-Mart, the three largest corporate employers in the country, and we are spending some $200 billion annually on law enforcement and corrections at all levels of government, a fourfold increase (in constant dollars) over the past quarter century. Never before has a supposedly free country denied basic liberty to so many of its citizens. In December 2006, some 2.25 million persons were being held in the nearly 5,000 prisons and jails that are scattered across America’s urban and rural landscapes. One third of inmates in state prisons are violent criminals, convicted of homicide, rape, or robbery. But the other two thirds consist mainly of property and drug offenders. Inmates are disproportionately drawn from the most disadvantaged parts of society. On average, state inmates have fewer than 11 years of schooling. They are also vastly disproportionately black and brown.

Glenn C. Loury. Why Are So Many Americans in Prison?

Two Million Homeowners Are Too Many to Fail: We Need Action—Single women, young couples, Latinos and African Americans were particular targets of aggressive mortgage brokers. The brokers didn't care if the loan made sense because they sold it off immediately to the financial houses. And they had a big incentive to hide the fees and interest rate jumps because those made the loans worth more when sold. Now new homeowners who have kept up their payments are facing foreclosure. Citibank warns that it is too big to fail, that the Treasury must act to bail out the banks. But 2 million homeowners are too many to fail; they will take down our economy if they do. So it is time to challenge the timidity and the cribbed imaginations in Washington and to demand action before the crisis brings down the entire economy. We need action to postpone all resets for those who have maintained their payments.— Jesse Jackson Sun Times.

Africans in Dublin, Ireland—Almost all the children who could not find elementary school places in a Dublin suburb this year were black, the government said Monday, highlighting Ireland's problems integrating its increasingly diverse population. The children will attend a new, all-black school, a prospect that educators called disheartening. . . .More than 25,000 Africans have settled in Ireland since the mid-1990s. Most arrived as asylum seekers, and many took advantage of Ireland's law — unique in Europe — of granting citizenship to parents of any Irish-born child. Voters toughened that law in a 2004 referendum. Shawn Pogatchnik. Black children left out of Irish schools.

DAILY CONGRESSIONAL QUARTERLY 2008 ELECTION MAP  CQ Politics

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS: EARMARKLESS CQ Politics

GUESSES ON THE REPUBLICAN FRONTRUNNER CQ Politics

CANDIDATE PROFILES  CQ Politics

Lessons from the Burmese uprising—In our day, we have perhaps become so used to seeing pro-democracy protestors toppling authoritarian governments that the difficulties involved can be underestimated. A handbook for overthrowing such governments would have to include the following factors: widespread public protests, bringing in many different social and economic groups; an opposition leadership with clear ideas around which people can rally; the ability to use the media in some form to get a message across. A mechanism for undermining the existing regime—whether by internal coup in the case of a military junta, the emergence of reformers, or the simple exhaustion of an existing government leading to its collapse External pressure from key countries able to exert influence. Experience has shown that a combination of the above is usually necessary for success.—Paul Reynolds. BBC

Jena and the Judgment of History (Karenga) / Jena Ignites a Movement / Thoughts on Jena & the Dirty South  / Photos from Jena  / Jena and the New Movement 

Jena (song by John Mellincamp)  Killens, the Black Man’s Burden, and the Jena 6  / Rev. Lennox Yearwood Attacked / Revealing Racist Roots: The 3 R’s

 

 

 

 

 

The Casualties of Iraq—Besides the deaths and injuries, the war had unleashed, according to the Financial Times, "The worst refugee crisis in the Middle East since the mass exodus of Palestinians that was part of the violent birth of the state of Israel in 1948." According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, 2.2 million Iraqis have fled their country, mostly to Jordan and Syria, and another 2 million have been turned into internal refugees. If one adds to that the ORB figures for deaths, it means at least 20% of Iraqi's pre-war population of 26 million has been killed, wounded, exiled, or displaced. The White House has simply ignored the refugee crisis. . . .  Half of Iraq's population are children, nearly 20% of them under the age of five. Some 25% are malnourished and 10% suffer from acute malnutrition. According to a UNICEF study, 70% of Iraqi's children suffer from traumatic stress syndrome. . . .In 1258 the Mongol generals Hulagu and Guo Kan besieged and took the city of Baghdad. They murdered its inhabitants, burned its libraries, and ravished its lands. The Bush administration has done the same, but hidden it behind a smoke screen of lies and voodoo statistics. For the average Iraqi, there is little difference between the Mongols and the United States. Both have laid waste to their country. Conn Hallinan Foreign Policy in Focus

Harold Washington Remembered—When Harold Washington, Chicago’s first black mayor, died on Nov. 25, 1987, many of us understood that his death marked the passing of a great man. But while we lamented the negative impact of his loss, few of us had any inkling of the vast political vacuum he would leave behind. As time passes, the vacuum expands. Back then, it seemed likely that Washington’s powerful presence could propel the formation of progressive alliances across the country. However, as we grope around in the political darkness he once illuminated, it seems clear that his unique personality was a major reason for his success. . . . Washington’s initial election occurred in 1983, when progressive forces were mired in the gloom of the Reagan administration. He found mayoral success using a formula that was part campaign and part crusade. But Washington was no political neophyte, full of naïve idealism. He had already served many years as a state legislator and a member of Congress, and was well versed in the nuts and bolts of pragmatic politics. Salim Muwakkil

Racial Integration Has Run Its Course—The resilience of civil-rights groups is praiseworthy, but future litigation, even if successful, is not going to alter the fact that most poor children, regardless of race, are attending schools that are not meeting their educational needs. Their dire condition, and that of the schools they attend, is not solely the result of an insensitive Supreme Court majority quite ready to manipulate precedent to stifle well-intended racial-diversity plans. The plain fact is that a great many white Americans, including many with otherwise liberal views on race, do not want their offspring attending schools with more than a token number of black and Latino children. Whatever their status, they do not wish to be burdened by efforts to correct the results of racial discrimination that they do not believe they caused. Their opposition may not be as violent or as vast as it was during the early years after the Brown decision, but it is widespread, deeply felt, and if history is any indication not likely to change any time soon. Derrick Bell.  Desegregations Demise.  The Chronicle of Higher Education 

No Tears for Brown v Board of Education—In 1990, after months of interviews with Justice Thurgood Marshall, who had been the lead lawyer for the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense Fund on the Brown case, I sat in his Supreme Court chambers with a final question. Almost 40 years later, was he satisfied with the outcome of the decision? Outside the courthouse, the failing Washington school system was hypersegregated, with more than 90 percent of its students black and Latino. Schools in the surrounding suburbs, meanwhile, were mostly white and producing some of the top students in the nation. Had Mr. Marshall, the lawyer, made a mistake by insisting on racial integration instead of improvement in the quality of schools for black children? His response was that seating black children next to white children in school had never been the point. It had been necessary only because all-white school boards were generously financing schools for white children while leaving black students in overcrowded, decrepit buildings with hand-me-down books and underpaid teachers. He had wanted black children to have the right to attend white schools as a point of leverage over the biased spending patterns of the segregationists who ran schools — both in the 17 states where racially separate schools were required by law and in other states where they were a matter of culture.— Juan Williams Don’t Mourn Brown v. Board of Education   Education & History

Jimmy Carter: U.S. tortures prisoners—The U.S. tortures prisoners in violation of international law, former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday, adding that President Bush makes up his own definition of torture. "Our country for the first time in my life time has abandoned the basic principle of human rights," Carter said on CNN. "We've said that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to those people in Abu Ghraib prison and Guantanamo, and we've said we can torture prisoners and deprive them of an accusation of a crime. . . This government does not torture people." Carter said the interrogation methods cited by the Times, including "head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures," constitute torture "if you use the international norms of torture as has always been honored - certainly in the last 60 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated. "But you can make your own definition of human rights and say we don't violate them, and you can make your own definition of torture and say we don't violate them," Carter said. Hosted AP

Immigration, Black Sheep and Swiss Rage—Schwerzenbach, Switzerland, Oct. 4 — The posters taped on the walls at a political rally here capture the rawness of Switzerland’s national electoral campaign: three white sheep stand on the Swiss flag as one of them kicks a single black sheep away. “To Create Security,” the poster reads. The poster is not the creation of a fringe movement, but of the most powerful party in Switzerland’s federal Parliament and a member of the coalition government, an extreme right-wing party called the Swiss People’s Party, or SVP. It has been distributed in a mass mailing to Swiss households, reproduced in newspapers and magazines and hung as huge billboards across the country. As voters prepare to go to the polls in a general election on Oct. 21, the poster — and the party’s underlying message — have polarized a country that prides itself on peaceful consensus in politics, neutrality in foreign policy and tolerance in human relations. Suddenly the campaign has turned into a nationwide debate over the place of immigrants in one of the world’s oldest democracies, and over what it means to be Swiss. Elaine Sciolino NYTimes

New York opens slave burial site—New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and poet Maya Angelou attended a dedication ceremony for a monument at the site. The late 17th Century burial site was gradually built over as New York expanded, but was rediscovered during an excavation in 1991.  Some 400 remains, many of children, were found during excavations. Half of the remains found at the burial site were of children under the age of 12. The entire project has cost more than $50 million (£24 million) to complete. The burial site in Manhattan was rediscovered during excavations for a federal building. . . . Now a 25ft (7.6 metre) granite monument marks the site. It was designed by Rodney Leon and is made out of stone from South Africa and from North America to symbolise the two worlds coming together. The entry to the monument is called The Door of Return - a nod to the name given to the departure points from which slaves were shipped from Africa to North America. They worked in the docks and as labourers building the fortification known as Wall Street, which protected the city against attack from Native Americans. BBC

White Vigilantees Killed 200 Blacks During Katrina—During the International Hurricane Katrina and Rita Tribunal we heard all sorts of testimony about white vigilantes 'hunting' down Black folks. This was in addition to the widespread police brutality. In some instances New Orleans police were seen riding with and working with white vigilantes who claimed they were protecting their neighborhoods. Former Black Panther Malik Rahim of the organization Common Ground was witness to white vigilantes who were roaming his neighborhood in Algiers which is located on the West Bank of New Orleans. This was one of the few places in the city that did not experience flooding. It was the only neighborhood in all of New Orleans that still had safe drinking water. My Space

Why here in America the seeds of racism are so deeply rooted in the white people collectively, their belief that they are ‘superior’ in some way is so deeply rooted, that these things are in the national white subconsciousness. Many whites are even actually unaware of their own racism until they face some test then their racism emerges in one form or another.—Malcolm X

The Justice that Jena Demands--Justice in Jena requires justice for all the others as well—for all those who have suffered (and some who have died) silently behind bars and for their families who have fought without benefit of TV cameras and news reporters.  It requires understanding that we will not, we can not achieve racial justice in this country if we do not fight against the criminal justice system, not just in individual instances, but in its institutionalized, systemic form.  If we do not understand—and understand it deeply—then this newly discovered energy, this tidal wave of outrage, this beautiful, intergenerational protesting isn't going to mean a damn thing past next week's news. Justice in Jena requires all of us across the country to rise up against the racism and exploitation of the criminal justice system in all the places where we've come to see it and grown to accept it whether that's allowing for an abysmal public defender office in your county or turning away when you see a police officer trample the rights, and perhaps the body, of a fellow citizen.  We must cast off once and for all, the fundamental lie that the system has anything to do with criminals or justice or public safety.  We must not back down, as so many movements have . . . Xochitl Bervera

Bush administration's ties to Blackwater—Oct. 2, 2007 | When Blackwater contractors guarding a U.S. State Department convoy allegedly killed 11 unarmed Iraqi civilians on Sept. 16, it was only the latest in a series of controversial shooting incidents associated with the private security firm. Blackwater has a reputation for being quick on the draw. Since 2005, the North Carolina-based company, which has about 1,000 contractors in Iraq, has reported 195 "escalation of force incidents"; in 163 of those cases Blackwater guns fired first. According to the New York Times, Blackwater guards were twice as likely as employees of two other firms protecting State Department personnel in Iraq to be involved in shooting incidents. On Tuesday morning, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will hold a hearing on the U.S. military's use of private contractors. When Waxman announced plans for the hearing last week, the State Department directed Blackwater not to give any information or testimony without its signoff. After a public spat between Rep. Waxman and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the State Department relented. Blackwater CEO and founder Erik Prince is now scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. Tuesday.—Ben Van Heuvelen. Salon

Mychal Bell Injustice Overturned on Appeal—A state appeals court on Friday threw out the only remaining conviction against one of the black teenagers accused in the beating of a white schoolmate in the racially tense north Louisiana town of Jena. Mychal Bell, 17, should not have been tried as an adult, the state 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal said in tossing his conviction on aggravated battery, for which he was to have been sentenced Thursday. He could have gotten 15 years in prison. His conspiracy conviction in the December beating of student Justin Barker was already thrown out by another court. Bell, who was 16 at the time of the beating, and four others were originally charged with attempted second-degree murder. Those charges brought widespread criticism that blacks were being treated more harshly than whites after racial confrontations and fights at Jena High School. Janet McConnaughey. Teen's conviction tossed in La. beating Yahoo.com  14 September 2007

Simon Wooley National co-ordinator, Operation Black Vote—We need to be clear that racism still thrives in the UK, and the depiction of young black men as criminals is part of that. Black people are still seen as inferior by most people who aren't black. They are still much less likely to get a job than their white counterparts. They tend to be born into deprivation. And deprivation can breed criminality. The government has openly admitted that black people still face sustained discrimination within the criminal justice system, for example. It's the combination of racial inequality and social inequality that has brought us to our current situation. Black people are unique in suffering heavily from both. When the two combine it's a massive problem: there is an added dynamic of deprivation when it comes to race. If we're to move on from this situation, black people must be the agents of change. We have to break the cycle of exclusion and start creating opportunities. We need black people to have the same chances as everyone else in terms of getting jobs and houses. Incentivising marriage through the welfare system is a total red herring: poverty is the problem, not single-parent families. Cahal Milmo. Mandela's message to black Britain 'Scale the mountains': the call from Mandela to black leaders News Independent UK

Missing People in New Orleans—Its figures paint a dramatic picture of jobs and housing decline in the central city area. During the storm's aftermath, thousands of residents were evacuated from the city. Two years later, one in three households have still not returned, and the population has dropped from 455,000 to 274,000. Poor households with children are particularly likely to have stayed away, with the number of children in public schools at only 40% of its pre-Katrina level. To some extent, migrants from Mexico and Central America have replaced Afro-Americans in New Orleans, with an estimated additional 100,000 Hispanic people in the region. They have been attracted by some of the relatively well-paying jobs in construction and tourism. Looking for jobs—But overall, the News Orleasn metro area employs 113,000 fewer people than in August 2005, and the pace of job creation has slowed to a crawl. The biggest declines were in tourism jobs (down 24,500), government jobs (down 29,000) and healthcare jobs (down 23,000). And 4,000 smaller firms closed after the storm. "We apparently are at a place where the post-storm employment recovery is peaking," said demographer Elliot Stonecipher. "Those categorical drops in jobs paint a picture of a devastated economy and we have to stop acting like they didn't happen."  Steve Schifferes. Two years on, New Orleans stalls News BBC

 

“The audacity of the adventure of House of Nehesi Publishers”—Throughout our Caribbean Region economic activity is to a large extent externally propelled. Investment initiates from outside and the collective investors are elsewhere: tourism, insurance, banking are some of the major pinnacles of authority which determine what choices we make in exercising control over our daily lives. The Governments may govern; but they do not rule. It is against this background of an imagined sovereignty and an enforced dependence that we must measure the audacity — and there is no other word for what I mean — the audacity of those who initiated from within the adventure of House of Nehesi Publishers. Such boldness of enterprise in the area of publishing can easily collapse in five months; so the 25th anniversary of Nehesi can arguably be celebrated as though it were the 50th.  And the evidence of the distinguished volumes it has produced is so abundant that the founders and their supporters are entitled to invent their own calendar for this purpose. Year 25 should be accorded the applause due a 50th anniversary in recognition of Nehesi’s capacity for digging deep in their indigenous human resource, and surviving the perils of waiting for some external force to determine your own agenda.  We celebrate House of Nehesi as a symbol of what it could mean to achieve a genuine sovereignty of the imagination.—George Lamming.  Editor’s Note: World-renown Barbadian novelist/scholar George Lamming recently congratulated House of Nehesi Publishers on its 25th anniversary in 2007. By May, the small press outfit had already released nine anniversary-year publications. The St. Martin publisher with a Caribbean-wide outreach has also managed to publish a list of literati from within and beyond the region, including Dr. Lamming, that belies its size and admitted limited resources. www.houseofnehesipublish.com / Offshoreediting@hotmail.com

Michael Baisden, Ruben Armstrong among those demanding justice for Mychal Bell.—Nationally syndicated radio personality Michael Baisden will join Rev. Al Sharpton and Martin Luther King, III on Sept. 20 at the court house in Jena, Louisiana for the 9 a.m. start of a rally dubbed, 'National March For Justice.' Gathered protesters will demand fair treatment for Mychal Bell, one of the African-American teenagers awaiting sentence in the Jena 6 Case. Sharpton was contacted by Bell's family to help bring national attention to the case and to fight for justice on behalf of the six black students involved. . . . Sharpton, who has been to Jena twice, arrived last month with Martin Luther King, III and met with local leaders, preachers and families of the students. They visited with Bell in jail and vowed to continue to fight for him and the others. . . . On Sept. 19, television talk show host Reuben Armstrong will broadcast live from Jena and also march the following day, when Bell is to be sentenced on charges of attempted murder. . . . the show will broadcast live from Jena, Louisiana in its entirety and rebroadcast on Sept. 22nd at 12 p.m. CST. You can watch and listen to this broadcast at Reuben Armstrong Show. Eurweb / Nooses and a legal lynching in Jena, Louisiana  / Strange Fruit in Jena / YouTube - Jena Six

Liberty as Tyranny—For both Bush and Bonaparte, the genteel diction of liberation, rights, and prosperity served to obscure or justify a major invasion and occupation of a Middle Eastern land, involving the unleashing of slaughter and terror against its people. Military action would leave towns destroyed, families displaced, and countless dead. Given the ongoing carnage in Iraq, President Bush's boast that, with "new tactics and precision weapons, we can achieve military objectives without directing violence against civilians," now seems not just hollow but macabre. The equation of a foreign military occupation with liberty and prosperity is, in the cold light of day, no less bizarre than the promise of war with virtually no civilian casualties.  It is no accident that many of the rhetorical strategies employed by George W. Bush originated with Napoleon Bonaparte, a notorious spinmeister and confidence man. At least Bonaparte looked to the future, seeing clearly the coming breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the likelihood that European Powers would be able to colonize its provinces. Bonaparte's failure in Egypt did not forestall decades of French colonial success in Algeria and Indochina, even if that era of imperial triumph could not, in the end, be sustained in the face of the political and social awakening of the colonized. Bush's neocolonialism, on the other hand, swam against the tide of history, and its failure is all the more criminal for having been so predictable. Juan Cole. Bush’s Napoleonic Folly. The Nation.com

Oil law Doesn't Serve Iraqis—Iraq has a long labor history. Union activists, banned and jailed under the British and their puppet monarchy, organized a labor movement that was the admiration of the Arab world when Iraq became independent after the revolution of 1958. When Saddam Hussein came to power, though, he drove its leaders underground, killing or imprisoning the ones he could catch. When Hussein fell, Iraqi unionists came out of prison, up from underground and back from exile, determined to rebuild the labor movement. Miraculously, in the midst of war and bombings, they did. The oil workers union in the south is now one of the largest organizations in Iraq, with thousands of members on the rigs, pipelines and refineries. The electrical workers union is the first national labor organization headed by a woman, Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein. Together with other unions in railroads, hotels, ports, schools and factories, they've gone on strike, held elections, won wage increases and made democracy a living reality. Yet the Bush administration, and the Baghdad government it controls, has outlawed collective bargaining, continuing to enforce a decree originally issued by Hussein in 1987 banning unions in the public sector. The al-Maliki government has seized all union funds and turned its back on a wave of assassinations of union leaders. David Bacon. Why Iraqis oppose U.S.-backed oil SFGate

Virginia & the Board of Trade The ruling class took special pains to be sure that the people they ruled were propagandized in the moral and legal ethos of white-supremacism. Provisions were included for that purpose in the 1705 "Act concerning Servants and Slaves" and in the Act of 1723 "directing the trial of Slaves . . . and for the better government of Negroes, Mulattos, and Indians, bond or free." For consciousness-raising purposes (to prevent "pretense of ignorance"), the laws mandated that parish clerks or churchwardens, once each spring and fall at the close of Sunday service, should read ("publish") these laws in full to the congregants. Sheriffs were ordered to have the same done at the courthouse door at the June or July term of court. . . . The general public was regularly and systematically subjected to official white supremacist agitation. It was to be drummed into the minds of the people that, for the first time, no free African-American was to dare to lift his or her hand against a "Christian, not being a negro, mulatto or Indian"; that African-American freeholders were no longer to be allowed to vote; that the provision of a previous enactment [1691] was being reinforced against the mating of English and Negroes as producing "abominable mixture" and "spurious" issue; that, as provided in the 1723 law for preventing freedom plots by African-American bond-laborers, "any white person . . . found in company with any [illegally congregated] slaves" was to be be fined (along with free African Americans or Indians so offending) with a fine of fifteen shillings, or to "receive, on his, her, or their bare backs, for every such offense, twenty lashes well laid on." Invention of the White Race  (vol. 2, p. 251)      

The privatisation of global water services—From Bolivia to Ghana to the Philippines, from the UK to the US and Canada, a rapidly consolidating for-profit water industry has been attempting to capture a household drinking water ‘market’ that, until recently, had been viewed in most parts of the world not as a cash cow for private corporations but as a public service. Multinational companies now run water systems for 7 per cent of the world’s population, and . . . could grow to 17 per cent by 2015. Private water management is estimated to be a $200 billion business, and the World Bank, which has encouraged governments to sell off their utilities to reduce public debt, projects it could be worth $1 trillion by 2021. The potential for profits is staggering: in May 2000 Fortune magazine predicted that water is about to become ‘one of the world’s great business opportunities’, and that ‘it promises to be to the 21st century what oil was to the 20th’. . . . In a world with soaring populations and declining supplies, the UN has forecast that global per capita water availability could decline by as much as one third within only two decades. Already, a fifth of the world’s population – 1 billion people – have no access to safe drinking water and only inadequate stores of water for cooking, bathing, and basic sanitation. In the cities of the developing world, antiquated, often colonial-era water systems are no match for booming populations. . . . Companies like Suez and its primary competitors Vivendi and RWE Thames Water promise to use their expertise to build infrastructure and delivery systems in exchange for guaranteed profits on their investment. Jon Luoma, The Water Thieves The Ecologist

Who & What’s Killing Black Babies?—To the shock of Mississippi officials, who in 2004 had seen the infant mortality rate — defined as deaths by the age of 1 year per thousand live births — fall to 9.7, the rate jumped sharply in 2005, to 11.4. The national average in 2003, the last year for which data have been compiled, was 6.9. Smaller rises also occurred in 2005 in Alabama, North Carolina and Tennessee. Louisiana and South Carolina saw rises in 2004 and have not yet reported on 2005. Whether the rises continue or not, federal officials say, rates have stagnated in the Deep South at levels well above the national average. Most striking, here and throughout the country, is the large racial disparity. In Mississippi, infant deaths among blacks rose to 17 per thousand births in 2005 from 14.2 per thousand in 2004, while those among whites rose to 6.6 per thousand from 6.1. (The national average in 2003 was 5.7 for whites and 14.0 for blacks.) The overall jump in Mississippi meant that 65 more babies died in 2005 than in the previous year, for a total of 481. The toll is visible in Hollandale, a tired town in the impoverished Delta region of northwest Mississippi. Jamekia Brown, 22 and two months pregnant with her third child, lives next to the black people’s cemetery in the part of town called No Name, where multiple generations crowd into cheap clapboard houses and trailers. So it took only a minute to walk to the graves of Ms. Brown’s first two children, marked with temporary metal signs because she cannot afford tombstones. NYTimes

Five Years in Guantánamo Murat Kurnaz’s Five Years of My Life: A Report from Guantánamo is a straightforward account of his rendition, torture, detention and interrogation by American forces—torture that continued in Guantánamo. It even identifies a few of his tormentors, whose name tags were visible until Major General Geoffrey Miller took command and ordered all American personnel to remove anything that might identify them. Kurnaz is beginning to appear in public to promote his book, described in the June 7 issue of The Economist as "a Swiftian tale" of a man who "survived by brawn and brains." . . . As for the U.S. regime, the Bush administration's attempt to create a unitary presidency that uses war to justify executive powers never imagined by the men who negotiated our Constitution has been unmasked, and the Bush-Cheney presidency is in its last throes. When it is gone, or even before it packs up and moves on, some plaintiff will likely find legal counsel and a forum in which to litigate these issues. In such a case, Kurnaz's book and testimony will be useful. He's written a primer on rendition, incarceration and torture. It's being translated by a U.S. publisher for a January release. It's not Solzhenitsyn, but it's a gripping account of life in an American gulag. Washington Spectator

My Letter to Clarence Thomas—When I observe the state of 1995 America, I am reminded of another country in another time. The nation was suffering from economic problems and social despair. The Angry White Men of that nation had to blame someone for their misfortunes and suffering, and selected the Jews as the personification of their problems. The majority society claimed that the Jews were taking all of the jobs, and were responsible for poverty, moral degradation and social decline. Laws were enacted to isolate, oppress, and eventually dispose of the minority group. Some Jews, the Judenraten, participated in the oppression of their own people, perhaps in an attempt to immunize themselves from personal harm. Of course, these individuals soon learned that their attempt was in vain, that they were being utilized by the majority society, and they too would perish. Justice Thomas, if I sound harsh it is because of the harsh conditions that the Supreme Court is creating. If you are still angry about the confirmation hearings, move beyond your anger. Unlike Henry Foster, you were afforded a floor vote in the Senate. If you are angry at black people for what they call you, prove that they are wrong. Concern yourself more with how historians will judge your tenure on the Court. We are approaching the twenty-first century, yet seem to be regressing back to the nineteenth. During a time of increasing diversity in the United States, we cannot afford to return to the ignorant backwater days of Jim Crow. Moreover, we cannot allow a black man to lead the way. David A. Love The Man Who Desecrates the Legacy of Thurgood Marshall, Black Commentator

On to Tehran, by sea and by air— Firms that must cultivate goodwill to do business in foreign lands increasingly view the current regime in Washington as an albatross around their necks, poisoning every prospective deal and soiling the company name. But these companies are not at the heart of the ruling cabal, which is centered on finance and military-industrial capital. These non-productive sectors profit by manipulating markets to create unfair advantage—while creating nothing. They are parasites, retarding global development and standing like George Wallace in the door to prevent solution of the manifold crises that pose imminent threats to humanity. Ultimately, the parasitic class can only maintain its rule by force. Manufacturing nothing, creating no value except on paper, they must finally call upon the Armed Forces to impose their unearned advantage on the planet. Such was the logic of March, 2003. The Great Offensive failed, but the contradictions that compelled the captains of finance capital to order their political servants to wage war, remain—and are in fact more acute than four years ago. They must wage war, again, to fight their way out of the box. And so it is. It does not matter that the attack may ignite an apocalypse; the ruling parasites cannot envision a world in which they are not supreme, in any case. Why not get it over with? Glen Ford, Iran and Beyond: Total War is Still on the Horizon. Black Agenda Report

 

Saving Darfur or Salvation Delusion? Pressure should be applied on rich countries to compel them to grant asylum to Darfurian refugees. Washington should be obliged to pay reparations to the people of Sudan for bombing the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in 1998, an attack which killed perhaps “several tens of thousands,” and supporting Khartoum in the 1980s as it waged a bloody civil war that would claim over two million lives. Finally, the West cannot be allowed to continue hampering the AU forces in Darfur; these troops require full funding, a broadened mandate, and a proper opportunity to halt the violence in the region – not to be completely sidelined for the “red herring” of UN troops. The fact that these steps have not been taken is sufficient to understand Washington’s true position vis-à-vis Sudan–a reality that should not be lost on Darfur activists. Steve Fake and Kevin Funk Saving Darfur or Salvation Delusion?

Jerry Miller -- black and working class -- spent 24 years in prison as an alleged rapist—The improprieties that collided to ensnare the Duke students—false or inconsistent identification by the victim, prosecutorial misconduct, the withholding of potentially exculpatory evidence from the defense, a racially incendiary atmosphere—are common in wrongful convictions. The difference is that the 200 people exonerated through the work of the Innocence Project served an average of 12 years in prison. Fourteen were on death row at the time they were cleared. Earl Washington, a developmentally disabled man from Virginia who was cleared of rape and murder in 2000, was nine days from his scheduled execution. “We found that in 50 percent of our cases there was serious police or prosecutorial misconduct—that’s what you had in the Duke case,” says Peter Neufeld, co-founder of the project and one of Miller’s lawyers. . .  .” It is the enduring hope—that the country will fix the systemic failings within the criminal justice system. Yet the discussion is largely absent from our tough-on-crime political conversation, because the failings harm African-Americans and other minorities most. For example, though interracial rapes are rare, constituting about 12 percent of reported sexual assaults, 66 percent of blacks who’ve been exonerated through DNA evidence had been wrongly convicted of raping white people, according to the Innocence Project. About half had been misidentified by white rape victims. Sloppy or slanted identification procedures, interrogations that elicit false confessions, faulty—even fraudulent—presentations of scientific evidence in court all play a role. A 2004 law guarantees federal convicts the right to petition for DNA testing to support a claim of innocence, but the crimes that typically involve such evidence are overwhelmingly state prosecutions. The law encourages states to seek federal funds to improve their evidence handling and post-conviction testing but, according to Neufeld, few have pursued the money. “There are plenty of prosecutors’ offices in the North, South, East and West who say, ‘Once that conviction is affirmed on appeal, that’s it,’ ” he says. Marie Cocco. When Justice Is Skin Deep Apr 26, 2007 Truthdig

Activists Shake Up Capitol—On one of the busiest days of the year at the state Capitol, 22 demonstrators were arrested Friday as they called for universal health care and a single-payer health system. The activists were taken into custody at various locations throughout the building, prompting the heaviest police presence at the Capitol this year. Officers were stationed in the House and Senate galleries and outside the doors of the chambers to ensure order. . . . Brian Petronella, president of Local 317 of the 11,000-member United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said he was fighting to get universal health care because many low-wage workers are forced to have their children on the state-operated HUSKY program.—Christopher Keating. 22 Arrested After Health Care Sit-Ins

NYC Police Brutalize Human Rights Attorney

A human rights attorney known for handling cases of police brutality became a victim of police abuse

"Not only as people of conscience and moral decency, but as lawyers, we said this is outrageous." They arrived and stood "more than ten feet away," he said. Mr. Warren told Sergeant Talvy they were lawyers, and told him to stop and just take the young man to the precinct. In response he said, "Talvy shouted, I don't give a f**k who you are, get the f**k back in your car!" They returned to their car, and Mr. Warren began to write down the license plate numbers of the police vehicles as they watched them put the bleeding young man in a car. "Then Talvy comes to my car and viciously attacks me, repeatedly punching me through the window. Shouting, 'Get out of the car!' He dragged me out of the car, ripping my shirt and pants. My wife, very upset, asked him why are you doing this? He then punched her in the face." Both were arrested and taken to the 77th precinct charged with obstruction, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. The New York City Independent Media Center

Working Hard against the Environment—"We now seem more determined than ever to work harder and produce more stuff, which creates a bizarre paradox: We are proudly breaking our backs to decrease the carrying capacity of the planet," says Conrad Schmidt, an internationally known social activist and founder of the Work Less Party, a Vancouver-based initiative aimed at moving to a 32-hour work week – a radical departure from the in early, out late cycle we've grown accustomed to. "Choosing to work less is the biggest environmental issue no one's talking about." Dara Colwell, Why Working Less is Better for the Globe

New improved unionsCongress will soon boost the minimum wage by more than 30%, and talk of a national healthcare insurance system is in the air. Most important, the House passed the Employee Free Choice Act. President Bush has vowed to veto the legislation should it reach his desk, but if a Democrat is elected the next president and signs the bill, the first progressive reform of U.S. labor law in decades may give trade unionists a real shot at organizing millions of workers now consigned to union-free purgatory. The act would greatly diminish opportunities for managerial intimidation during organizing campaigns by allowing workers to join a union simply by signing a card. And the act would impose stiff financial penalties on anti-union employers who break the law. This "card check," as it is known, may be a viable alternative to the employer-dominated elections currently conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.  The Employee Free Choice Act makes it easy to imagine a properly designed Wal-Mart on Santa Barbara's bustling State Street, with its unionized workers receiving decent wages and good healthcare benefits. And if the efficiencies inherent in the Wal-Mart system of selling groceries and merchandise at low prices put the local Ralphs out of business, well, that would be an instance of honest and respectable capitalism at work. Nelson Lichtenstein The ailing grocery workers union may benefit from a political shift to support labor LATimes

Strike Aimed at Mbeki—Thousands of South African workers have marched in sympathy with striking civil servants, highlighting the divide between the ruling African National Congress and its trade union allies. Central Johannesburg came to a standstill as about 15,000 union supporters chanted slogans denouncing the government of Thabo Mbeki, the president. Marchers thronged the streets of other major cities, including Cape Town, on Wednesday Many belonged to the powerful Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), allied with the ANC and the South African Communist Party. Political analysts say the public service strike, which began on June 1, has turned into a demonstration of workers' power ahead of a leadership meeting this year that could see the ANC name a successor to Mbeki. . . . Unions are pushing for a left-wing government when a new president takes office in 2009—- reflecting criticism that Mbeki's market-friendly policies have not done enough to help the black majority. Al Jazeera

Reverse Reparations“A Massive Transfer of Value”—If prisons filled by disproportionately black “urban felons” have become a critical source of “economic development” in disproportionately white rural America, then they are also and at the same time a form of what might be called “reverse racial reparations.”  According to the distinguished criminologist Todd Clear, the “economic relocation of resources” from black to white communities that results from racial disparities and related spatial patterns in mass incarceration are considerable.  “Each prisoner represents an economic asset that has been removed from that community and placed elsewhere [emphasis added]….The removal may represent a loss of economic value to the home community, but it is a boon to the prison community.” By Clear’s estimation in the late 1990s, “each prisoner represents as much as $25,000 in income for the community in which the prison is located, not to mention the value of constructing the prison facility in the first place.  This can be a massive transfer of value: A young male worth a few thousand dollars of support to children and local purchases is transformed into a $25, 000 financial asset to a rural prison community.  The economy of the rural community is artificially amplified, the local city economy artificially deflated”

Paul Street Race, Place, and the Vicious Circle of Mass Incarceration Z-Net  4 March 2007  

 

Research of the Black Youth Project93 percent of black youth believe that sex education should be mandatory in high schools, and 76 percent think the government should stop funding only abstinence. . . . 60 percent think that abortion should be legal in some circumstances. . . .70 percent of black and Latino youth feel they "have the knowledge and skills necessary to participate in politics," more than half believe the government "cares little about them." Sixty-eight percent of black youth believe that the government would do more to cure AIDS if more white people were afflicted with the disease. . . . "these young people are very clear that in their daily lives … they perceive young black people to experience very high levels of discrimination." Almost 70 percent of black youth reported that they had been discriminated against due to their race, and large majorities of all youth believed that "on average, the police discriminate much more against black youth than they do against white youth." . . . 58 percent of black youth report listening to rap everyday, but even greater majorities (92 percent of females and 74 percent of males) think rap music videos portray black women offensively. Chelsea Ross. “Making Black Voices Heard.”

Black America's Real Issue with Barack Obama --Both Barack Obama's Republican opponents and the centrist Democrats who support his presidential candidacy agree on one thing. They all agree that black opinion on the senator is both uninformed and irrelevant. To hear the mainstream media, black dissatisfaction with Senator Obama is all about his black African father, his white American mother, his light complexion and his Columbia and Harvard Law degrees. The Audacity of Hope  Black America was then admonished and chided by white Republicans and Democrats of all colors for not embracing Senator Obama based on some foolish standard of black authenticity. This is a racist calumny and slur of the first magnitude against all of black America. Our people have never rejected leading figures because of light complexions, immigrant parents or advanced degrees. Bruce Dixon Black Agenda Report  Hypocrisy on Health Care   Obama's Audacious Deference to Power

Pan African Literary Forum -- July 3-18, 2008 / Week-long Workshops in Accra GHANA / Jeffery Renard Allen, Director / Arthur Flowers, Co-Director / Sean Hill, Administrative Manager / Faculty: Colin Channer, Junot Diaz, Niq Mhlongo—Fiction / Kwame Dawes, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Jabbeh Wesley—Poetry / E. Ethelbert Miller, Binavanga Wainaina—Creative Nonfiction /  Sheree Thomas—Speculative Fiction / Sapphire—Performance Poetry  Panafrican Literary Forum

The oligarchy fears it is losing its right to run the country—The debate in Venezuela has less to do with the alleged absence of freedom of expression than with a perennially tricky issue locally referred to as "exclusion", a shorthand term for "race" and "racism". RCTV was not just a politically reactionary organisation which supported the 2002 coup attempt against a democratically elected government - it was also a white supremacist channel. Its staff and presenters, in a country largely of black and indigenous descent, were uniformly white, as were the protagonists of its soap operas and the advertisements it carried. It was "colonial" television, reflecting the desires and ambitions of an external power.  At the final, close-down party of RCTV last month, those most in view on the screen were long-haired and pulchritudinous young blondes. Such images make for excellent television watching by European and North American males.Richard Gott. The battle over the media is about race as well as class

Congressional ComplicityThe Iraq Accountability Act passed the House as H.R. 1591 and slightly differently as S. 965 in the Senate. . . . Both bills set deadlines for troop withdrawal, both appropriate the money the President requested for prosecuting his war, and both require the Iraqi Parliament to pass its "hydrocarbon law," to enable the sharing of oil revenues among the Iraqi people. Revenue sharing . . . . was one in a series of mandatory "benchmarks" he [Bush] established for the Iraqi government to meet. "To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy," Mr. Bush said, "Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis." On the surface that is a benign, compassionate thing to do for a war-torn people. As usual, it seems, Mr. Bush was consciously deceiving us. He failed to tell us the whole truth. The Iraqi hydrocarbon law also privatizes 81% of Iraq's currently nationalized petroleum resources, opening them to "investment" by Exxon/Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, and two British oil companies, BP/Amoco and Royal Dutch/Shell. . . . These companies expect to sign the rarely used and notoriously profitable contracts called "production sharing agreements" which guarantee them extraordinarily high profit margins: they might capture more than half of the oil revenues for the first 15-30 years of the contracts' lifespan, and deny Iraq any income at all until their infrastructure "investments" have been recovered. Richard W. Behan, First in the War, Then in the Oil Grab Counterpunch.

The “Great Society” has become the “Lost Society.” -- Virginia’s “profound regret” for slavery . . .is the first in the United States . . .  sends an important symbolic message. The poverty level is at a 32-year high. McClatchy reports show nearly 16 million Americans classified as severely poor. The analysis found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. . . . According to census data, the article states, nearly two of three people in severe poverty are white (10.3 million) and 6.9 million are non-Hispanic whites. . . .Severely poor blacks (4.3 million) are more than three times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be in deep poverty, while extremely poor Hispanics (3.7 million) are more than twice as likely.  . . . Production for workers has increased, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. Corporate profits have dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. . .The education system in Baltimore City. . . . “our kids are screaming for someone to save them.” . . . .  What is the solution, put more emphasis on the collective rather than individual achievementAustin L. Sydnor, Jr., Monday, 2/26/07

 

Abolish Gender & Racial Inequities—At the federal level, there is legislation in Congress that could potentially address part of the solution toward pay equity, and that is the Employee Free Choice Act. EFCA would restore workers' freedom to form unions and collectively bargain, while strengthening penalties for companies that coerce or intimidate employees. It is critical that women be allowed to form unions and be part of a process where they can express an opinion by the simple but deliberate signing of an authorization card. Union women earn 31 percent more in their median weekly earnings than those without a union, which translates into $758 per month in comparison to $579 without a union.  The freedom to join a union is a fundamental right protected by our country's constitutional freedom of association, its labor laws and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Yet, this right continues to be eroded, and as a result, more and more women have become the victims of harassment, discrimination, and even termination for attempting to improve their lives by forming unions.  Linda Chavez-Thompson and Gabriella Lemus, Erosion of unions hurts women, particularly Latinas. Sun Times

South Africa Strike action intensifies . . . workers are getting more militant The striking public servants are joined by several teachers from the South  African Democratic Teachers Union to demonstrate their solidarity with hospital staff. Meanwhile at other hospitals around the mother city there has been no picketing or protesting yet been reported. Sabcnews. Meanwhile, the government's revised pay package including a proposed 6.5% general increase was rejected minutes after it was made on Monday. Business is booming in South Africa but civil servants say they have not had a pay rise since one that ended a major public service strike in 2004. Anger boiled over when an official body recommended Mbeki should receive a 57% pay rise in a country where the vast majority of black South Africans still live in grim townships. He says socio-economic conditions have improved. - Sapa, Reuters Mg.co.za

 

What Barack Obama Believes -- A then 26-year-old Barack Obama (news, bio, voting record) walked down the aisle of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, knelt beneath a cross suspended from its rafters and, as he later explained it, committed himself to God after years as a religious skeptic. In those early days at the self-described "unashamedly black" church, the future Democratic presidential candidate was moved to tears by a sermon from its activist pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., whom he has portrayed as his spiritual mentor. Two decades later, Obama himself would be Wright's topic of the day — but not for reasons either man would have hoped. Michael Tarm, "Activist Obama church enters spotlight." Yahoo

Barack Obama Is African American Enough for Me if—By Larry Ukali Johnson-Redd, Author of Loving Black Women

 

Africans mark abolition of slave trade -- Descendants of slaves and dignitaries gathered at a white-washed former slave fort at Elmina in Ghana to remember the more than 10 million Africans – some estimates say up to 60 million –sent on slave ships to the New World. . . . Elmina was sub-Saharan Africa's first permanent slave trading post, built by the Portuguese in 1492. It passed to England and by the 18th century shipped tens of thousands of Africans a year through "the door of no return" to slave ships. . . .  After years of campaigning by anti-slavery activists like politician William Wilberforce, Britain banned the trade in slaves from Africa on March 25, 1807. It did not outlaw slavery itself until 1833 and the transatlantic trade continued under foreign flags for many years. . . . British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed Britain's "deep sorrow and regret" for the country's role in the slave trade but he appeared to fall short of the formal apology demanded by a senior Church of England cleric, Archbishop of York John Sentamu. Britain's first black cabinet minister Baroness Valerie Amos, herself a descendant of slaves who was born in Guyana, joined South African jazz icon Hugh Masekela and Jamaican-born reggae poet Linton Kwesi Johnson at the ceremony. Countless Africans perished on the voyage or on disease-infested plantations in the Americas. Kufuor dismissed talk of reparations because of the active involvement of Africans in the slave trade. Yahoo

Interethnic Solidarity in New Orleans—A city that cannot restore order or rebuild itself has somehow summoned the energy to harass the people who are doing much of the building and repairing. Squatters and workers living in tents in City Park were evicted last year, and the bustling day-labor market at Lee Circle has been shut down. Latino laborers are routinely being arrested. In Kenner, a suburb by the airport, where people shout “Go back to Mexico!” from passing pickup trucks, the police rounded up more than 30 laborers in January for congregating outside Home Depot. The men paid $240 fines and now meet across the street. . .  . As Curtis Muhammad, a gray-bearded member of the Survivor Council and a veteran civil-rights organizer with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, grilled chicken and hot dogs, members of the Congreso addressed the crowd, hailing the unity of African-American and Latino, of black and brown, of poor and poorer. When they were done, Mr. Muhammad walked gingerly to the top of the stoop. The old slaves and new slaves, from North and South, are uniting against the same master, he roared. Lawrence Downes. "In Forgotten New Orleans, Life and Hope Stir at the Bottom."  NYTimes

Government Corruption Threatens Flow of Nigerian OilThe violence in the Niger Delta is likely to be one of the thorniest political problems for Nigeria’s new president, to be chosen in the election April 21. Oil, after all, is the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, providing 65 percent of its revenue.  The events in Nigeria, the world’s eighth-largest oil exporter, have rippled across energy markets, contributing to higher prices and tighter supplies. [On Friday, gunmen attacked a boat carrying oil workers to an offshore rig in the delta, pushing up oil prices by more than $1.50, to $63.38 a barrel.]  The United States imports more than one million barrels of crude oil from Nigeria every day. Many analysts warn that tensions here could derail plans to boost oil production in this country of 140 million people. Already, a quarter of Nigeria’s oil output has been shut down, costing an estimated $12 billion in lost sales in over the last year. Some foreign operators have abandoned oil fields, or left the country altogether. “I can’t think of anything worse right now,” said Larry Johnson, a former United States Army officer who was recently hired to toughen security at a site here operated by Eni, an Italian oil producer. “Even Angola during the civil war wasn’t as bad.” Violence is not new to the Niger Delta, a vast area of 40,000 square miles of swamps and creeks where the Niger River washes out into the Atlantic Ocean. The region, which produces most of the country’s oil, is also one of the nation’s poorest. NYTimes

Africa—Where the Next US Oil Wars Will Be Black Agenda Report

Obama Making an End to the Race Problem—It was King Harrod who, the Bible says, left it up to the Roman overlord Pontius Pilate to decide if Jesus Christ would be crucified, or not. Harrod bowed to power. Barack Obama's back is just as crooked. He is no progressive, and is only made to seem so by a corporate media that cares nothing for issues, but only about personalities, money and "momentum." Obama's ace in the hole is the sad fact that African Americans are so hungry to see one of their own grab the brass ring—the presidency—that they wishfully will him into being the "brother" that, by all the evidence, he is not.  But Obama's main constituency is not Black; it is white people that want to absolve themselves with one vote of the guilt for centuries of racial oppression. In other words, Black folks crave a symbolic victory—even one that has no substance to it— and a significant number of white people would celebrate an Obama presidency as marking the end of the race "problem" in the United States. Forget about mass Black incarceration; the decimation of the Black middle class through loss of manufacturing jobs; gentrification that is dislocating the dark populations of inner cities; school systems that are more Jim Crow today than ever before, and even less functional; and a war budget that destroys all hope of domestic social progress in our lifetimes. Glen Ford, Barack Obama: More Like King Harrod Than Joshua

 

Losing the Class WarWe are, right now, in the middle of a class war—one that threatens to destroy the social contract that has made this country what it is today. . . . Today, American workers' take-home pay represents a smaller share of the nation's total income than at any time in the last forty years. At the same time, corporate profits as a share of national income are at an all-time high. In all, the top 1 percent of Americans—-those who make on average $1 million a year or more--owns a larger percentage of the nation's wealth than at any time since the Great Depression. . . . These trends occurred at precisely the same time our government threw its lot in almost exclusively with those at the top. Consumer protection and environmental laws have been decimated, as corporate lobbying has become a multibillion-dollar industry. At a time of war and deficit, we have upcoming federal tax cuts that will hand roughly a half-trillion dollars to the wealthiest 1 percent--tax cuts for millionaires are larger than the annual income of the average American household. And labor laws have been weakened, creating in many cases the modern-day version of the turn of the twentieth century, where employers openly busted unions with brutal tactics. David Sirota, Get Busy Living, or Get Busy Dying

 

Racism, Wealth and IQ—I.Q. is a measure of wealth. The children of gangsters and war criminals (i.e., national politicians, corporate executives, race-favored Americans, Europeans, and others from outposts of Pan-Whiteness, e.g., Israel, Australia, New Zealand) will have higher I.Q. because they have been brought up in material comfort, physical security, and they have experienced the best educational systems in existence. There is no genetic basis for this, but there is certainly a racist one. Since the days of Columbus, Pan-Whiteness has used technology (primarily explosives) and piracy (now called finance) to steal world resources, and enslave and exterminate "colored" people. "High" I.Q. is merely a developmental indicator of race-based physical plundering by their elders and ancestors in the children of the Race Warriors of the White Supremacy Crusade. The religious core of capitalism is white supremacy, which is why the nations mentioned are bonded so tightly, and why the U.S. Government will often pursue policies vis-a-vis Israel that logically seem to be at odds with "U.S. interests" (e.g., the pursuit, with U.S. casualties, of war with Iraq and Iran, not just for oil but in Israel's interest). It may be objectively true that a particular policy (e.g., bankrolling Israel's theft of Palestine—"settlements"—backing Israel's stonewalling and aggression (e.g., Lebanon) and blocking U.N. and international efforts to settle the Palestinian issue) seems more to Israel's benefit than to "us." But, when viewed through the emotive religious-mythical lens of white supremacy, the apparent inconsistency dissolves.  Counterpunch

Darfur and Congo show how illiberal our concept of intervention really is—The UN estimates that 3 million to 4 million Congolese have been killed, compared with the estimated 200,000 civilian deaths in Darfur. A peace deal agreed in December 2002 has never been adhered to, and atrocities have been particularly well documented in the province of Kivu - carried out by paramilitary organisations with strong governmental links. In the last month alone, thousands of civilians have been killed in heavy fighting between rebel and government forces vying for control of an area north of Goma, and the UN reckons that another 50,000 have been made refugees.  How curious, then, that so much more attention has been focused on Darfur than Congo. There are no pressure groups of any note that draw attention to the Congolese situation. In the media there is barely a word. The politicians are silent. Yet if ever there were a case for the outside world to intervene on humanitarian grounds alone - "liberal interventionism" - then surely this is it.  The key difference between the two situations lies in the racial and ethnic composition of the perceived victims and perpetrators. In Congo, black Africans are killing other black Africans in a way that is difficult for outsiders to identify with. The turmoil there can in that sense be regarded as a narrowly African affair. In Darfur the fighting is portrayed as a war between black Africans, rightly or wrongly regarded as the victims, and "Arabs", widely regarded as the perpetrators of the killings. In practice these neat racial categories are highly indistinct, but it is through such a prism that the conflict is generally viewed. Roger Howard Where anti-Arab prejudice and oil make the difference

 

Climate change is already destroying millions of lives in the poor world—Katrina was a challenge for the US, so why should we be surprised that the annual cyclone season off the east coast of Africa continues to stretch the governments of Mozambique and Madagascar to their limits? Where governments are weak, the reliance on humanitarian agencies is greater. People who work for bodies such as the UN World Food Programme are finding their work is a humanitarian "growth industry". Indeed, the numbers of people who know what it's like to go hungry stands at more than 850 million, and they are still growing by almost 4 million a year. The increasing frequency of natural disasters makes the fight against hunger even more challenging. The World Bank estimates that the number of natural disasters has quadrupled from 100 a year in 1975 to 400 in 2005. In the past 10 years, 2.6 billion people have suffered from natural disasters. That is more than a third of the global population - most of them in the developing world. The human impact is obvious, but what is not so apparent is the extent to which climatic events can undo the developmental gains put in place over decades. Droughts and floods destroy lives, but they also destroy schools, economies and opportunity.Desmond Tutu, This fatal complacency. Guardian

144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal—Public opinion is squarely with Iraq's nationalists. According to a poll by the University of Maryland's Project on International Public Policy Attitudes, majorities of all three of Iraq's major ethno-sectarian groups support a unified Iraq with a strong central government. For at least two years, poll after poll has shown that large majorities of Iraqis of all ethnicities and sects want the United States to set a timeline for withdrawal, even though (in the case of Baghdad residents), they expect the security situation to deteriorate in the short term as a result. That's nationalism, and it remains the central if unreported motivation for many Iraqis, both within the nascent government and on the streets. While sectarian fighting at the neighborhood and community level has made life unlivable for millions of Iraqis, Iraqi nationalism -- portrayed as a fiction by supporters of the invasion -- supersedes sectarian loyalties at the political level. A group of secular, Sunni and Shia nationalists have long voted together on key issues, but so far have failed to join forces under a single banner.Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation alternet

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty -- A McClatchy Newspapers analysis of 2005 census figures . . . found that nearly 16 million Americans are living in deep or severe poverty. A family of four with two children and an annual income of less than $9,903 - half the federal poverty line – was considered severely poor in 2005. So were individuals who made less than $5,080 a year. . . .  found that the number of severely poor Americans grew by 26 percent from 2000 to 2005. That's 56 percent faster than the overall poverty population grew in the same period. . . .  also found statistically significant increases in the percentage of the population in severe poverty in 65 of 215 large U.S. counties, and similar increases in 28 states. The review also suggested that the rise in severely poor residents isn't confined to large urban counties but extends to suburban and rural areas. . . . Worker productivity has increased dramatically since the brief recession of 2001, but wages and job growth have lagged behind. At the same time, the share of national income going to corporate profits has dwarfed the amount going to wages and salaries. That helps explain why the median household income of working-age families, adjusted for inflation, has fallen for five straight years. Tony Pugh McClatchy Newspapers Real Cities  2/22/07 

  Racism is so universal in this country, so widespread and deep-seated, that it is invisible because it is so normal.-  -Shirley Chisholm

One million African men will not be allowed to exercise their right to vote in 2008."Amin Sharif 

The Justice Policy Institute reported in 2002 that there were 791,649  Black men  of all ages in jail or prison compared to 603,000 in higher education.

Yesterday, more than 20,000 people perished of extreme poverty.

World Social Forum Diary, 2007 (Nairobi, Kenya) Jordan Flaherty & Other Reports

EUR UPDATE, 12 April 2007: CBS Radio Fires Imus Effective Immediately .Decision comes Thursday afternoon following meeting with civil rights leaders.  (Drinks are on us!)  CBS has fired radio host Don Imus in the wake of his racist comments last week regarding the Rutgers University women's basketball team. It's perhaps the final chapter in the uproar that saw the simulcast of his MSNBC show cancelled Wednesday following a loss of advertisers and enormous pressure from civil rights activists. "From the outset, I believe all of us have been deeply upset and revulsed by the statements that were made on our air about the young women who represented Rutgers University in the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship with such class, energy, and talent," said CBS President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves, in announcing the decision.

Racism Is to Be Expected From Don Imus—CBS, NBC, media pundits complicit in talk host's bigotry --The Imus in the Morning radio show is aired on CBS-owned radio station WFAN, and is syndicated nationally by CBS-owned Westwood One. It is simulcast daily on MSNBC, a cable news channel in which GE subsidiary NBC Universal holds a controlling interest. Top media pundits like Tim Russert, Howard Fineman, Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd are frequent Imus guests. The show has also been a conduit for televised racism and other bigotry for years. http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3082  

 

Denunciation of Racist Don Imus Grows -- Democrat Barack Obama on Wednesday became the first presidential candidate to call for radio host Don Imus to be fired for making racially and sexually charged comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. . . . "I understand MSNBC has suspended Mr. Imus," Obama told ABC News, "but I would also say that there's nobody on my staff who would still be working for me if they made a comment like that about anybody of any ethnic group. "He didn't just cross the line, he fed into some of the worst stereotypes that my two young daughters are having to deal with today in America," said Obama, the only black candidate in the presidential race. Nedra Pickler, Obama Calls for Imus' Firing.  Forbes

 

Bush's Shadow Army—Contractors have provided the Bush Administration with political cover, allowing the government to deploy private forces in a war zone free of public scrutiny, with the deaths, injuries and crimes of those forces shrouded in secrecy. The Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress in turn have shielded the contractors from accountability, oversight and legal constraints. Despite the presence of more than 100,000 private contractors on the ground in Iraq, only one has been indicted for crimes or violations. "We have over 200,000 troops in Iraq and half of them aren't being counted, and the danger is that there's zero accountability," says Democrat Dennis Kucinich. Alternet  Jeremy Scahill's , Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army (2007)

Venezuela's Black Vote: President Chavez proudly identifies himself as a man of African descent and is often the subject of racial epithets by the wealthy elite who are predominantly of European descent. Not only does he acknowledge his heritage, the president has made changes that have aligned most Afro-Venezuelans with him. He won by 63 percent of the vote is in no small part due to the passionate support of Afro Venezuelans. The majority of the poor in Venezuela - like in many Latin American countries - are disproportionately Black. Race is "the elephant in the room" in Venezuela, where I heard lighter-skinned Latin Americans tell me everyone in their country were the same nationality and equal. -- Amsterdam News

Why did 58% of Michigan voters vote YES to ban affirmative action  programs, even though the Vote NO campaign  was backed by both candidates for governor and a host of religious, labor, educational and liberal organizations? . . .is it a sign of a new counter-revolutionary form of racism in which workers are finding it easier to  scapegoat blacks for mass unemployment than to wrestle with the reality that the responsibility rests with multinational corporations seeking higher profits by exploiting cheaper labor in Third World countries? -- Grace Lee Boggs. "PROP 2 and the American Nightmare. Michigan Citizen, Nov. 28-Dec.2, 2006

The rage-fueled rap 50-shots by an up-and-coming emcee, Papoose, has found airplay on satellite radio and is being circulated on the Internet. The song, a collaboration between mixtape master Papoose and Hot 97 radio show host DJ Kayslay, blasts the cops involved in last Saturday's shooting, along with police union boss Patrick Lynch and a New York Post columnist who criticized Mayor Bloomberg for saying the shooting was "excessive." NY Daily News

The complaint of John Ridley's isn't that the author uses the forbidden word. . .The problem . . . is that Ridley redefines the word in order to create an artificial and politically as well as culturally tendentious class distinction within the black community . . . a theme made popular, without the same political resonance, by Bill Cosby. Ridley uses it to preach a form of partisan politics. That maneuver in itself corresponds to a deep cultural trait in US society, what I would call militant polarizing simplification (MPS). Ridley uses the dreaded word to divide the black community into two opposing cultural entities. His linguistic sin is to take the mocking, ironic and even tender use of "nigger" among blacks to turn it once again into a term of hatred, contempt and division, with a force to rival that of the white Southern racists.  -- Peter

The Crime of Breathing While Black -- Such indignities still abound in popular culture. Consider comedian Michael Richards, who recently unleashed a racist tirade after being heckled by a few black men in the audience. Worse, he made graphic reference to lynching when he explained what would have befallen them had they "mouthed off" to a white person fifty years ago. But whether or not we use the word "nigger" or discourage its use by others—or among black folk—the discrete events that trigger that visceral feeling in us will remain as long as black lives continue to have less value than white lives. Because they do. To invoke a newer, insidious rhetorical tool of conservatives, it is white "innocent life" that is sacrosanct, not society's moral outrage against violence and brutality, physical or psychological. Christopher Rabb, Afro-Netizen

Stock Market Up, Concern for the Poor Down--Republicans Make Cuts in Social Programs and Cuts in Taxes for the Rich -- Republicans resist raising the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour from the current $5.15. . . . In 43 states, workers who receive tips can be paid as little as $2.13 an hour, provided that their tips bring them to at least the minimum-wage level. But seven states, mostly in the West, allow no such exemption. California requires a minimum wage of $6.75 an hour for all workers, including bartenders and waitresses. Washington Post (3 August 2006)

Democrats won the popular vote for the Senate by an overwhelming 12.6% margin - 55%/42.4%. "Bipartisanship" and "compromise" are today's buzzwords, when the phrase on everybody's lips should be "mandate for dramatic change." RJ Eskow -- Black lawmakers are likely to lead key committees in the new, Democrat-led House, and that means issues such as Hurricane Katrina relief, hate crimes and voting problems are likely to get much more attention. . . . Members of the group may head as many as five prominent House committees and 17 subcommittees. Black lawmakers gain power in new Congress / Congressional Black Caucus

 

Women make up about 10 percent of the America's inmates: Then there's the feminization of poverty and racial stereotyping. More than one out of three black women jailed did not complete high school, were unemployed, or had incomes below the poverty level at the time of their arrest. More than half of them were single parents. While black men are typed as violent, drug dealing "gangstas," black women are typed as sexually loose, conniving, untrustworthy, welfare queens. Many of the mostly middle-class judges and jurors believe that black women offenders are menaces to society. Why So Many Black Women Are Behind Bars by Earl Ofari Hutchinson

Wall Street employees last year earned $289,664 on average, or 5.1 times as much as other workers in New York City, New York State Comptroller Alan Hevesi said in October. Financial employees generated $2.1 billion in 2005 tax revenue and each new position filled in the industry creates two additional jobs in the city and one in the suburbs. Goldman Pay Rises to $622,000 on Average Per Employee by Adrian Cox

Black Agenda Report  Black women of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are far more progressive in their voting behavior than Black male lawmakers. — The CBC Monitor watchdog group. . . found that “no female on the CBC earned less than an 85% score (a very healthy "B") on the most recent CBC Monitor Report Card. . .. concluded that "Black women who are elected to Congress are all but guaranteed to be more progressive—that is, to defend and advance the interests of their constituents, rather than corporations – than nearly half of Black male members." Caucus Sisters Shine, Brothers Lag Behind

Oil companies are raking in record profits, with ExxonMobil reporting profits of $4.7 million an hour in July 2006. . . . Since 1992, the publicly-backed World Bank has provided more than $5 billion in subsidies to the oil industry, while devoting only five percent of its energy budget to clean, renewable energy sources. The U.S. government has spent even more money subsidizing Big Oil. America’s misguided policies have fueled global warming, encouraged oil dependence, led to increased conflict, and increased poverty and debt. End Big Oil Aid To Africa

 

A Village Increases Academic Scores

The program, named the Village, was created three years ago by African American faculty at Cleveland High, in Reseda, amid some controversy, because it is aimed only at black students. It focuses on forging personal connections with students in a communal setting that epitomizes the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child."

. . . . Those views, however, have been tempered by impressive gains in test scores, reductions in dropout rates and improved behavior among Cleveland's African American students. Scores on the Academic Performance Index jumped 95 points in two years, from 569 in 2003 to 664 in 2005, according to the California Department of Education. The districtwide average among all students in 2005 was 649, department statistics show.

In 2003, 36% of black students at Cleveland passed the math portion of the California High School Exit Examination. The figure rose to 81% in 2006. Carla Rivera, Family-Like Program Opens Brave New Chapter for Black L.A. Students

Hunger in America: Hunger in U.S. households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released today. . . . The USDA report, Household Food Security in the United States, 2004, says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. --  http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-10/bu-hia102805.php

 

The first Reconstruction [1860s, 1870s] was driven by a convergence of interests on the part of a critical mass of whites, the second Reconstruction [1960s,1970s] has replicated this convergences through a political movement led and joined by radical conservatives. -- Ron Walters.     Historicized analyses of whiteness go against the convention of ignoring yet universalizing whiteness as an unspoken but naturalized norm presumed to be unaffected by racism -- Faye Harrison

"Globalization" for Americans is Really About Income Distribution  by Mark Weisbrot

Concentrated Poverty in New Orleans The challenges facing New Orleans are complicated by the sluggish nature of the rebuilding effort. According to the most recent estimate, the population of the city is 181,000, well below the pre-storm level of 463,000. Tens of thousands of evacuees have been living in the Houston area, with large additional clusters in Dallas, Atlanta, and elsewhere. So, a third question: How can we ensure that families in the Katrina diaspora have access to communities of economic vitality and educational opportunity?

From Jo'Burg to Jozi: South Africa's most prolific mass murderer takes another sip of coffee, eases back in his chair and pauses when asked if it is true he shot more than 100 black people. "I can't argue with that," says Louis van Schoor. "I never kept count." "Apartheid killer finds religion but not remorse. Case of freed racist murderer highlights refusal of whites to take responsibility for the past." By Rory Carroll in East London. w.guardian.co.uk/southafrica/story/0,,1836912,00.html"> The Guardian

A Village Increases Academic Scores: The program, named the Village, was created three years ago by African American faculty at Cleveland High, in Reseda, amid some controversy, because it is aimed only at black students. It focuses on forging personal connections with students in a communal setting that epitomizes the African proverb "It takes a village to raise a child." . . . .  In 2003, 36% of black students at Cleveland passed the math portion of the California High School Exit Examination. The figure rose to 81% in 2006. Carla Rivera, Family-Like Program Opens Brave New Chapter for Black L.A. Students

As a Jew who escaped the Holocaust by moving with my family to America in 1938, I turn on the BBC at night. And what I see are clouds of black smoke, explosions; the dead and the dying - children crying bitterly, cities in ruins. Only yesterday, these piles of rubble in Lebanon were home to thousands. Now, the cars roll out onto the highways, white flags attached to the windshields and doors. More than half a million are homeless. The Israelis told them to leave, but then strafed one convoy from a helicopter. The military people exert their force without pity. They win their wars proudly. They are the masters of force. “Why doesn't Israel work for peace?’ By Silvia Tennenbaum Newsday.com August 4, 2006

No Hereditary Kings in America—Detroit (Aug. 18) - Noting "there are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution," a federal judge ruled Thursday that President Bush had exceeded his authority when he allowed the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant. U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit said the surveillance by the NSA violates the rights to free speech and privacy, as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution. “Judge Orders Halt to Warrantless Surveillance,” by Sarah Karush, AP ONLINE Detroit News

Terrorism has always been extraordinarily difficult to define, but the American approach lacks any pretence at objectivity, thus making the term utterly meaningless. Used in this way, terrorism becomes simply "political violence of which we disapprove". The answer, of course, must not be to abandon any attempt to distinguish between right and wrong in the use of force. There need to be standards if we are to prevent the free-for-all of violence without limit. But these standards must be disinterested, legitimate and robust. As it happens, most of what we need is adequately provided for in international humanitarian law. Numerous treaties and judgments from the Geneva conventions onwards set out quite detailed rules governing the use of force, including the principles of proportionality and civilian immunity. "How can 'terrorism' be condemned while war crimes go without rebuke?" By David Clark, Guardian

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soldiers die, CEOs prosper: MORE THAN 2,600 US soldiers have died in Iraq. July's toll for Iraqi civilians was 3,500, the deadliest month of the US occupation. Iraq's civil war is on pace to kill 25,000 to 30,000 civilians by year's end. If you add in the tens of thousands of deaths from the 2003 invasion (we do not know the exact number because the Pentagon won't comment), researchers will inevitably say that the body count has crossed 100,000. . . . As soldiers have died in displaying personal patriotism, the pay gap between soldiers and defense CEOs has exploded. Before 9/11, the gap between CEOs of publicly traded companies and army privates was already a galling 190 to 1. Today, it is 308 to 1. The average army private makes $25,000 a year. The average defense CEO makes $7.7 million. "Soldiers die, CEOs prosper." By Derrick Z. Jackson, August 30, 2006 The Boston Globe

September 11 is . . . . A new era is here with new walls everywhere, between Israel and Palestine, around the EU, on the US-Mexico and Spain-Morocco borders. It is an era with new forms of apartheid and legalized torture. As President Bush said after September 11, America is in a state of war. But the problem is that the US is not in a state of war. For the large majority, daily life goes on and war remains the business of state agencies. The distinction between the state of war and peace is blurred. We are entering a time in which a state of peace itself can be at the same time a state of emergency. Slavoj Zizek , Monday September 11, 2006 The Guardian

 

The Browning of American Cities

An analysis of census data released last week has shown that the white non-Hispanic population in another three of America's 50 largest cities has become a minority. In Phoenix, Tucson and Denver, the white population has recently fallen below 50 percent, according to William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution. He predicts that another four cities will soon follow. Whites will become a minority in Arlington, Tex.; Charlotte; and Las Vegas within two years and in Austin within four years, he said. Although these changes were once driven by "white flight," Frey said, something else contributed in the cities that most recently reached the tipping point. While they were still losing some whites, the more dramatic shift was the increase in Hispanics, some of whom were moving from California and elsewhere in the United States in search of a better -- and more affordable -- life. "Changing Face of Western Cities" by Anushka Asthana Washington Post

Israeli War Report: 400 Lebanese . . . have died, an overwhelming number of them civilian and many of them children . . . . Israeli victims (about 50 so far, and most of them soldiers) . . . . More than half a million people in Lebanon have been turned into refugees in just a matter of weeks. Israelis are bunkered in bomb shelters. “Condoleezza Rice: Midwife from Hell,” by Matthew Rothschild http://progressive.org/mag_wx072806   Diary of Zena el-Khalil

War on the Family: Mothers in Prison and the Families They Leave Behind by Renny Golden

War on the Family is a searing indictment of the booming prison industry and the hell it has unleashed on the victims of its "success"--primarily African Americans, Latinos, and Arabs. "We can't build prisons fast enough to hold this world's cargo of dark-skinned prisoners," Golden writes. "The U.S. incarceration rate rose almost 300 percent between 1980 and 1998, eclipsing both South Africa and Russia's all-time international imprisonment record."

. . .
  Her statistics are revealing: "...the female state and federal prisons population increased 275 percent between 1980 and 1992, while violent offenses increased only 1.3 percent." While not suggesting that incarcerated women live admirable lives or are only victims, Golden proves the idiocy of the race-based "drug-addicted welfare mother" stereotypes that are often propagated by the "family values" Christian Right. She deconstructs the myth that it is "personal choice and individual character, rather than social opportunity" that enables social transformation.  Sojourners Magazine

Poverty faced by Baltimore Students.

Baltimore has a 24 percent poverty rate, ranking it as the sixth-poorest region in the nation among 236 areas surveyed by the Census. . . . About 73 percent of students in Baltimore’s schools receive free or reduced-price lunches, compared to just 31 percent in neighboring Baltimore County. . . . 35 percent of Baltimore’s children live below the poverty line, compared to just 11 percent statewide and 18 percent nationally. Nearly 22 percent of the city’s kids are without a parent in the work force—that’s more than three times the state average. . . . educators say, test scores reflect the impact poverty has on student achievement. . . .Across grade levels, those who didn’t receive any aid were twice as likely to score in the advanced category of the MSA test for reading, and were 2.5 times as likely to do the same in math. --  R. Darryl Foxworth, "No School is and Island" (City Paper 10/19/05)

FEMA Evicting 50,000 Families from Temporary Housing

 When the congresssional investigations are held the survivors must be allowed to testify -- Rudy

Hunger in America: Hunger in U.S. households has risen by 43 percent over the last five years, according to an analysis of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) data released today. The analysis, completed by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University, shows that more than 7 million people have joined the ranks of the hungry since 1999.

The USDA report, Household Food Security in the United States, 2004, says that 38.2 million Americans live in households that suffer directly from hunger and food insecurity, including nearly 14 million children. That figure is up from 31 million Americans in 1999.

California, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma and South Carolina all have food insecurity and hunger rates that are significantly higher than the national average. The lone bright spot in the nation is Oregon. Once considered to have the worst hunger in the country, Oregon has shown significant decreases in food insecurity and hunger since 1999-2001. http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-10/bu-hia102805.php

Government Increasing Inequalities

Income inequality is now near all-time highs, with over 50 percent of 2004 income going to the top fifth of households, and the biggest gains going to the top 5 percent and 1 percent of households. The average CEO now takes home a paycheck 431 times that of their average worker. . . .

Now, to pay for hurricane reconstruction and the war in Iraq, Congress is considering cuts in programs that help poor people, such as Medicaid and Food Stamps. They have not yet considered fairer ways of reducing the deficit by reversing special tax breaks for the rich, such as the recent cuts in capital gains and dividend taxes.

Inequality is non-partisan. The pace of inequality has grown steadily over three decades, under both Republican and Democratic administrations and Congresses.

The Gini index, the global measure of inequality, grew as quickly under President Clinton as it has under President George W. Bush. Widening disparities in the U.S. are the result of three decades of bi-partisan public policies that have tilted the rules of the economy to the benefit of major corporations and large asset owners at the expense of people whose security comes from a paycheck. Chuck Collins and Felice Yeskel, Inequality in America: Version 2.0

"Whites simply will not invest in a school system which educates black children." -- Norward Roussell

President ARISTIDE SENDS HIS CONDOLENCES

President Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Pretoria, South Africa

September 3, 2005

The historic ties between Haiti and Louisiana are rooted in its namesake land purchase occasioned by the Haitian Revolution.  Today this connection has expanded.  It finds new root in a shared human suffering caused by this week’s catastrophic storm and ensuing floods. Our sincere condolences for the loss of life, injury, suffering and great pain that has befallen the people of the United States.   The grieving faces that we see so resemble the grieving faces of Haitians—who have faced similar waters that swept away lives and engulfed tiny boats overloaded with people fleeing the political repression following the coup d’etat/kidnapping of February 29, 2004. Human suffering transcends nationality, color, religion and class. It can leave no individual indifferent. We reiterate our expression of sympathy in this time of pain.  Jean-Bertrand Aristide

Castro offers medical aid to U.S.

Saturday, September 3, 2005

HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro has offered to send help to the United States in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. At a nightly roundtable program on state-run television Friday, the Cuban leader said his nation was ready to send 1,100 doctors and 26 tons of medicine and equipment. "Others have sent money; we are offering to save lives," he said.

Hiring Crisis For U.S. Black Teens

U.S. employers added 207,000 new nonagricultural jobs in July, while the national unemployment rate remained at 5.0 percent, the Labor Department reported on August 5. Yet for one group of workers in America’s labor force, there remains little to cheer about when it comes to being hired by employers.

The July jobless rate for America's black teens was 33.1 percent, up by 0.7 percentage points from June. In other words, black teens are out of a job at nearly seven times the national rate!  

Skin color matters absolutely in the U.S. labor market, presumably the global model for other nations to follow. Under American capitalism, employment opportunity is supposed to grow when the private sector is freed from government regulation. . . . 

Currently, the U.S. economy is growing, with new jobs being created in many sectors. Examples include construction, real estate, restaurant and retail.

Moreover, job expansion during the past three months has spurred wage growth. Main Street’s gain is Wall Street’s pain, as this rise in hourly wages could cause inflation and boost the cost of borrowed money.

At the same time, there is a festering jobs crisis for America’s black youth. They are living in depression-like times concerning employment opportunities, with their absence from payrolls being overlooked in corporate news.

Where is the outrage? Any at all? -- Seth Sandronsky, "Hiring Crisis For U.S. Black Teens"

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Black Masses on Their Own

The leading political leadership for the Black community has been the middle class, first at the head of a people driven by their condition in the rural South, and then by the urban workers.

The 1960s was the end of the unity between the Black middle class leaders and the masses of Black poor and working people. Now, there is a political split, and the Black middle class has parted company with the Blacks in the new proletariat because they are relatively secure and the others are not.

In fact, the vision of the Black middle class will be promoted in campaign after campaign. But that vision will fail because it does not address the fundamental reality of the new class. The best two examples I can think of have to do with the two most important political events in the last few years for Black people in the USA--the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion and the Million Man March.

Both events reflected great commitment and mobilization, but neither had a political program. Now each has attempted to define a political program--the outline of a plan for economic development attributed to the Cripps and the Bloods, as well as the general plan developed by the Summit of Black leadership after the MMM.

Both of these efforts tried to argue that a program of Black capitalism under the leadership of the Black middle class would work.

This is a misunderstanding of history and the issues we have been discussing here. At the end of the 19th century, this program of Black capitalism was undertaken by Booker T Washington and others to consolidate the Black middle class as a leadership.

This was a useful strategy, as there was room to maneuver in a segregated society based on an expanding industrial economy. Today, based on the five revolutionary processes [Decline of Industrial Jobs, Growing Inequality, Social Breakdown, Destroying the Safety Net, Spiritual Crisis], no such Black capitalist program makes any real sense at all. 

This is fantasy, pure and simple. The main character of the Black middle class is not Black business, but professional jobs in government and corporate settings. The masses of Black people are on their own. -- -Abdul Alkalimat, "Technological Revolution And Prospects for Black Liberation in the 21st Century."

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When Cotton Was King

It is generally believed that in less than two weeks, Whitney designed a cotton-gin for short-fiber cotton, although the historian Herbert Aptheker reports that this cotton gin developed from the drawing of a slave in Mississippi. (Workers have been ripped off at the suggestion box for a long time!)

The cotton gin increased productivity in a very dramatic way. When cleaning the cotton by hand, it took one slave a complete day to clean one pound of cotton. The hand-powered cotton gin increased this productivity to 150 pounds per day. With steam power driving the gin, one slave could produce one bale or 1000 pounds per day.

So the statistics speak for themselves. Before the cotton gin, in 1790, the US produced 6,000 bales of cotton, by 1810 this was up to 178,000 bales of cotton, and by 1860 four million bales of cotton.

By 1820 cotton was more than 50% of all US exports and after 1825, US-produced cotton was 80% of the commercial supply on the entire world market. Cotton had become King, meaning that from 1830 to 1860 more money was invested in land and slaves for cotton production than all the rest of the US economy put together! In 1790 there were 700,000 slaves and by 1860 there were 4 million, of whom more than 70% were in cotton production.

Black people were pulled west by the expansion of the cotton belt, so that after beginning with a concentration in South Carolina, the main concentration of Blacks had moved over to Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. --Abdul Alkalimat, "Technological Revolution And Prospects for Black Liberation in the 21st Century."

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Under Financing Black Colleges

Nationally, the historically black colleges and universities have a six-year graduation rate of 38 percent, according to The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. That is slightly lower than the figure for black students at all other institutions, and roughly 40 percentage points lower than for blacks at elite schools. The situation amounts to a little-noticed crisis in the very institutions that, for their size, play a disproportionate role in educating African-Americans.

A half-century after Brown v. Board of Education, 40 years after Lyndon Johnson's speech endorsing the concept of affirmative action, and two years after the Supreme Court upheld racial diversity as a factor in admissions, the approximately 80 historically black colleges and universities still enroll more than 10 percent of the African-American students in higher education and award close to 20 percent of degrees. . . .

As a result, the students who come to Texas Southern arrive less prepared and sometimes less committed than their forebears. Roughly one-third of them require remedial classes before they can enter college-level courses. More than 100 of the available spaces in the Summer Academy went unclaimed, even though the program charges no tuition and provides a stipend for books that is worth several hundred dollars. . . .

The economic impact hobbles black colleges and institutions themselves. For in higher education, the prevailing rule of fund-raising is that the rich get richer. Texas Southern has an endowment of $6 million; across town, Rice University has $3 billion. The best endowed historically black institution, Howard University in Washington, ranks 132nd in the nation with $371 million, according to a survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

--Samuel G. Freedman “Little-Noticed Crisis at Black Colleges” (August 3, 2005)

 

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High School Dropouts—America’s Education Failures

"Dropouts in America: Confronting the Graduation Rate Crisis," a collection of essays edited by Gary Orfield, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, [states the following]: 

"Nationally, only about two-thirds of all students - and only half of all blacks, Latinos and Native Americans - who enter ninth grade graduate with regular diplomas four years later."

In much of the nation, especially in urban and rural areas, the picture is even more dismal. In New York City, just 18 percent of all students graduate with a Regents diploma, which is the diploma generally required for admission to a four-year college. Only 9.4 percent of African-American students get a Regents diploma.

Over all, the United States has one of the highest high school dropout rates in the industrialized world, which can't be comforting news in the ferociously competitive environment of an increasingly globalized economy.

Citing statistics from a variety of sources, officials at the Gates Foundation have noted that: High school dropouts, on average, earn $9,245 less per year than high school graduates.

The poverty rate for families headed by dropouts is more than twice that for families headed by high school graduates.

Dropouts are much more likely to be unemployed, less likely to vote and more likely to be imprisoned than high school graduates.

--“Education's Collateral Damage” By Bob Herbert (21 July 2005) / bobherb@nytimes.com

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Power, Race, & Black Sexuality

There is a saying in Brazil and its meaning has been widely translated throughout the African Diaspora wherever white men exploited the bodies of Black women for pleasure and profit: "A white woman to marry, a mulatta to screw, and Black woman to work." 

Thus the idea of a liberating "sex work" has a precarious implication for Black women for whom the threat of rape was always a part of the job. 

Enslaved Black women were at the mercy of their masters and not much changed when Black women began to earn a wage. While working as cooks and nannies which continues to be the type of work most associated with Black females, they were often brutally raped by the fathers and sons of the families they worked for.

The links between Black women and illicit sexuality began in the antebellum south. White men justified the sexual terror they inflicted on Black people by creating the image of the wanton Black whore who could not be raped or defiled because her sexuality was insatiable and impure by nature. We had no claim to womanhood, motherhood, or humanity. We are the original "dirty girls," the first sex radicals without the sanctuary of gender. We were used for our wombs and still worked like our men. There was no sanctuary to be found in the way our bodies were branded and exploited. They systematically raped Black women and branded us whores even as they'd lynch a Black man for even glancing in the direction of a white woman. In the image of the Black
whore and Black rapist white men had found their authority to terrorize and punish others for the very acts only they committed. --
Jennifer McLune “When White Males Attack: Larry Flynt, Racism and The Left” http://www.hustlingtheleft.com/mclune.html

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Black Masses Sacrificed for the Arts

Another generation of Negro writers would argue that the masses failed to support the Harlem Renaissance not because they were stupid but because they were poor. Furthermore, even though they were poor, they did love art -- not the High Art of the Renaissance but the art of everyday life: music, dancing, the oral tradition. Curiously, [Alain] Locke had demanded that this folk art be recognized, that it be treated in literature, but in this he remained ensnared by a version of the genteel tradition from which even Mencken had not freed himself. The written word was superior to the oral word, and literature was still to be spelled with a capital L. Poetry, by definition, was superior to either the blues or jazz,  so Locke used it, and not music, as a means to measure "the present cultural position of the Negro in American life." It, and not music, was "the serious art which can best represent to the world the Negro of the present generation." Both he and Mencken rebelled against middle-class gentility but ended up substituting an aristocratic gentility that would not take the art of the masses seriously. . . .

[Mencken] overlooked the significance of jazz artists like Duke Ellington, Fletcher henderson, and Jelly Roll Morton who had large white followings, and he appeared to miss entirely the purer black artists such as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Charley Patton. This last mission is especially ironic since, as we know, as poor as the black masses were, they did support an art that reflected their real culture. . . .

By the mid-20s Race Record companies were selling "five or six million records annually (to a Negro population of about double that number), that "blues records were not cheap" (seventy-five cents to one dollar each for the expensive ones), and that even high prices "did not deter sales of over 20,000 for the more popular Bessie Smith issues." Here indeed was an audience willing to sacrifice a good deal for art. -- Charles Scruggs. The Sage in Harlem: H.L. Mencken and the Black Writers of the 1920s (JHU Press, 1984)

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Africa & The World Economy

Contemporary Africa is totally on the side lines with regard to the world economy: with less than 1 % of world's GDP, 1% of Foreign Direct Investment, 1.5% of world trade; In the external balance of the African countries, 60 to 80 % of exports are accounted for by primary commodities: copper, bauxite, uranium, cotton, cacao, coffee, etc. This is to say the 'Colonial Pact' persists to date.--Theophile Obenga    More Facts

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The Global Power of Western Education

The West dominates the world because of its school: education thought, pedagogical theories and practices, teachings and training, knowledge production, openness to other non-Western cultural worlds. Western education philosophy, which is a huge and wrongly neglected problem, largely explains the place assigned to Africa in the world of collective mentality and that of material wealth.

At the foundation of ideas, values, morals and shared ideology with a human community is education. Globalization also takes place through Western educational System. Globalization is a product of the Western school. Because education has not yet been able to ensure the transition from the state of nature to humanity in the West. --Theophile Obenga  More Facts

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Rich Tribes vs. Poor Tribes in South Africa

 

Black "African people living in rural areas . . . comprise 12.8 percent of the entire South African  population. 35 percent speak Xhosa as their home language and another 31 percent speak Zulu. 39 percent of them live in traditional huts and some 46 percent of all people who live in huts are part of this group.

More than 93 percent do not have any of the basic living standard measures: no electricity, no running water, no radio or TV, no telephone. They have received very little education. 56 percent have not completed primary school and 20 percent have received no formal education at all. 73 percent of Agrarian Lifestyles are unemployed and 19 percent can find only unskilled labour positions. Only one in three who work--7 percent of the total--have an account of any kind with a bank.

When asked what is most important in life, they indicate overwhelmingly that it is having a job. They place lowest value on stimulation and power and above average importance on tradition and conformity" (pp. 51-52).

At the top end of [the] human development scale [are those] whose "standard of living is the highest in South Africa. Accounting for just 2.7 percent of the population, they live a life of material ease compared to others. They are primarily white people (91 percent) who speak Afrikaans (72 percent) or English (28 percent) in the home and reside in a suburban home (93 percent) located in a major metropolitan area. Their educational and commercial attainments allow [them] to enjoy a standard of living enjoyed by few people in the world. 

It is a lifestyle characterised by all of the modern technical advances and conveniences. Two-thirds of households have personal computers and half of them are connected to the internet. Two-thirds also have MNet (pay TV) and 27 percent have DStv (satellite TV). There are 2.1 cars per household, 89 percent have a cellular telephone and 88 percent a Telkom (landline) phone.

Their value priorities are unique. They place higher importance on self-direction . . . . Benevolence is also of vital importance. Power and hedonism are generally more important to them than others, but do not rise to a higher level than what could be called moderate importance."

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Benin  and child slaves


COTONOU (Reuters) - When she was eight, Rachelle Akawe's aunt sent her from Benin to work as a domestic servant in Niger. After 10 years, Akawe finally returned home, her childhood gone and her dreams in tatters.

"I wanted to be a lawyer. Now at 26, I am learning to read and write," she said. "When you are a child slave, you do not have a choice ... you always feel abandoned ... you have no future. It stays with you for the rest of your life."

Akawe's tale is unfortunately common in Benin, a tiny West African nation with a huge child labor problem fueled by poverty and tradition in a land where childhood is short and the average person can expect to live just 50 years.

But Akawe's lost childhood may yet serve a purpose -- her story is told in a new documentary produced by local director Christiane Chabi Kao and destined to be shown at schools, markets and on state television.

"Through my documentary, I am trying to understand why this happens ... in our country," Chabi Kao said.

The problem is not confined to Benin -- a slim, poor country stretching from the Gulf of Guinea to the barren border of Niger and best known as the ancestral cradle of voodoo.

The U.N. children's agency, UNICEF estimates there are some 246 million child labourers around the world, with 70 percent working in hazardous conditions. It says at least 200,000 children are trafficked in West and Central Africa each year.

Children wield machetes on cocoa plantations in Ivory Coast, chisel rocks in granite quarries in Nigeria, dig for diamonds in mines in Sierra Leone and sweep and clean homes in Gabon.

Source:  http://today.reuters.com/ / "Bitterness, broken dreams for Benin's child slaves" By Paawana Abalo

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Black History Needed for Graduation 

PHILADELPHIA, June 22 - Angry that public schools here have always taught American history through a Eurocentric prism, parents of black children began pleading with local school officials to offer a course in African-American history.

That was nearly 40 years ago.

This year, their pleas were finally - and emphatically - answered. Starting in September, students entering city high schools as ninth graders will be required to take a course in African-American history, making Philadelphia the first major city to require such a course for high school graduation.

School officials here say the course carries huge benefits for all students and offers a perspective on American history that has been largely absent from most contemporary teaching guides.

"You cannot understand American history without understanding the African-American experience; I don't care what anybody says," said Paul G. Vallas, the school system's chief executive, who is white. "It benefits African-American children who need a more comprehensive understanding of their own culture, and it also benefits non-African-Americans to understand the full totality of the American experience."

Critics of the policy shift say it will further polarize the city by focusing attention on just one race and not dealing with other racial and ethnic groups like Mexicans, Chinese or Poles.

--"Philadelphia Mandates Black History for Graduation." By Michael Janofsky. June 25, 2005 http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/25/education/25philly.html

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Lynching in America

Lynching is variously defined as a violent act, usually racial in nature, that denies a person due process of law and is carried out with the complicity of the local society.

The sponsors of the resolution, Landrieu [Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La] and Allen [Sen. George Allen, R-Va], said they were motivated in part by a recent book, "Without Sanctuary, Lynching Photography in America," in which author James Allen collected lynch pictures, mostly taken by those participating in the killings.

"More than a half-century ago, mere feet from where we sit . . . the Senate failed you and your ancestors and our nation," Landrieu told descendants at a lunch in the Capitol.

Among those present was James Cameron, who as a shoeshine boy in Marion, Ind., in 1930 was dragged from a cell and had a rope placed around his neck. Two of his friends, also accused of the murder of a white man and the rape of a white woman, were hanged. Cameron, then 16, was spared when a man in the crowd proclaimed his innocence.

"I was saved by a miracle," said Cameron, who went on to found America's Black Holocaust Museum in Milwaukee. "They were going to lynch me between my two buddies," he said, with thousands of people "hollering for my blood when a voice said, 'Take this boy back.'"

The nonbinding resolution apologizes to the victims for the Senate's failure to act and "expresses the deepest sympathies and most solemn regrets of the Senate to the descendants of victims of lynching, the ancestors of whom were deprived of life, human dignity and the constitutional protections accorded all citizens of the United States."

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said President Bush talked about slavery and the travails of American democracy in a meeting Monday with five African leaders. The Senate, McClellan said, "has taken a step that they feel they need to take, given their own past inaction on what were great injustices."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who witnessed racial tensions as a child in Alabama, called the apology "a remarkable and wonderful thing" during an interview with MSNBC's "Hardball."

--Senate to Atone for Lynching Ban Delays By JIM ABRAMS The Associated Press Monday, June 13, 2005

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Hatred of Republicans Growing

Dean . . . chairman of the DNC, outspoken and uncompromising, . . . dared to say that he hates Republicans, that the leadership of that party hasn’t worked a day in their lives, that the GOP has become a radical hothouse of right-wing Christians, almost all of whom are white, and that House majority leader Tom DeLay should go back to Texas and get his looming prison sentence over with. . . . . Suddenly, Democrats like Joe Biden and Bill Richardson start knocking over furniture and old ladies in their rush to get to a microphone so they can distance themselves from the wild man. . . .

Of 3,643 Republicans serving in state legislatures across the country, only 44 of them are minorities, amounting to 1.2%. Texas, with a minority population of 47%, has 106 Republicans in the state legislature. There are exactly zero African Americans and exactly zero Hispanics serving in that body as Republicans. In Washington, 274 of the 535 elected Senators and Representatives are Republican. Exactly five are minorities. . . .

Of course, there are ethnic and religious minorities within the rank and file of the GOP, but every demographic analysis of the party’s makeup clearly shows the vast majority of Republicans fit exactly into the description offered by Mr. Dean.  

His point, by the way, was not that white Christians are bad people. His point was that, in this pluralist society made up of so much diversity, the Republican Party does not represent the true face of this country. He was also pointing out that the GOP has been taken over by that small, radical minority of white Christians who believe separation of church and state is evil, and who believe Biblical law is a better tool of governance than that pesky Constitution.

--"Dean Was Right,"  By William Rivers Pitt. t r u t h o u t | Perspective Saturday 11 June 2005

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A steeper ladder for the have-nots 

In 1973, the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 43 to 1. By 1992, it was 145 to 1. By 1997, it was 326 to 1. By 2000, it hit a sky-high 531 to 1. The post 9/11 shakeouts and corporate scandals of recent years on the surface narrowed the gap back to 301 to 1 in 2003. But a much worse parallel global gap is emerging in the era of outsourcing. United for a Fair Economy published a report last summer that found CEOs of the top US outsourcing companies made 1,300 times more than their computer programmers in India and 3,300 more than Indian call-center employees.

Such groups say if the minimum wage kept up with the rise in CEO pay, it would be $15.76 an hour instead of its current $5.15. Looking at it another way, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, another often written-off liberal think tank, published a report last month that in the last three years, the share of US national income that goes toward corporate profits is at its highest levels since World War II, while the share of national income that goes to wages and salaries is at a record low.

--Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist, Boston Globe

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Rich Countries & Corrupt Officials Killing Africa

By the end of 2004, external debt of Sub-Saharan countries stood at US$ 231 billion. At the same time, the Gross Domestic Product of these countries was just about US$350 billion. In other words, African countries cannot pay back their debts and sustain development. Most countries have to spend more than twenty percent of their revenues to service the debt, i.e., to pay annual quotas of debt and the interests generated so far. The debt has helped the recovery and growth of rich countries, but denied the development of poor countries. . . .

Kenya has been the recipient of a cumulative total of 17 billion US$ in loans and aid; this equals to 1,275 billion shillings, or an average of 40,000 Kenya shillings per each citizen. In spite of his huge amount of money, Kenya has witnessed a progressive decline of its economy. Today, the vast majority of Kenyans live below the poverty line, while a small minority enjoys a life style higher than that of developed countries. . . .

Debt servicing is hampering our struggle for development and social justice. We should remember that the official poverty line is placed at earning less than US$1 per day per person. We all know that this limit is in itself a masquerade. No person can be expected to live with less than 80 [Kenya] shillings per day, especially in our urban areas where the cost of life is no lower than that of many European or North American countries. To pay people according to the salary structures applying to most of our workers is tantamount to exploit their work in the pretence of legality.

A Pastoral Letter of The Catholic Bishops of Kenya (May 17, 2005)

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Educational Attainment Levels -- African Americans & Hispanics

Only 18% of African Americans and 10% of Hispanics complete a 4-year degree by age 29, compared with 34% of whites. Native American students are less likely to complete a college degree than any other ethnic group. Only 3 in 5 will graduate from high school, and of those less than 3% will go on to earn a Bachelor's degree. . . .

A young person whose family income is from the lowest socioeconomic quartile has less than a 6 percent chance of earning a 4-year college degree compared to 40% among those in the highest quartile. About 7 times more likely. . . .  

Nearly 29% of Hispanic youth and 12.6 percent of black youth age 16 to 24 have dropped out of school compared with 7.3 percent of whites. . . .

In 2003 white/black gaps were approximately 10 points wider (about a year's worth of learning) than they were a decade ago. By the end of high school, African American students have math and reading skills that are virtually the same as those of 8th grade white students. . . . 

In half the schools located in urban areas  in the 35 largest US cities, nearly 50% of the students in those schools do not graduate from high school in four years.

Source: Rossana, "Is Mexican Fox Racist?" Friday, May 20, 2005 rossanamj@comcast.net

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The 15th, Black Men, & Gifts 

BULLETIN -- One Million Black Men Denied the Vote: "On Nov. 8, 2004, the United States Supreme Court declined to hear cases from New York and Washington states, according to an article in the New York Times (Nov. 10, 2004). Linda Greenhouse stated that an estimated '3.9 million felons, more that one third black men' have been affected by this decision. In light of the latest election results, this would mean that nearly one million African men will not be allowed to exercise their right to vote in 2008."

Source: Amin Sharif 

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Counting Nappy Heads

There are nearly two million more black adult women than men in America, stark testimony to how often black men die before their time. With nearly another million black men in prison or the military, the real imbalance is even greater -- a gap of 2.8 million, according to U.S. Census data for 2002. On average, then, there are 26 percent more black women than black men; among whites, women outnumber men by just 8 percent. – “Where have all the black men gone?”

Source: Jonathan Tilove 

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The Rise of Africans in America

Nationally, the proportion of blacks who are foreign born rose to about 7.3 percent from 4.9 percent in the 1990's. In New York City, about 1 in 3 blacks are foreign born. . . . In the 1960's, 28,954 legal immigrants were admitted from all of Africa, a figure that rose geometrically to 80,779 in the 1970's, 176,893 in the 1980's and 354,939 in the 1990's. In 2002, 60,269 were admitted, including 8,291 from Nigeria, 7,574 from Ethiopia, 4,537 from Somalia, 4,256 from Ghana and 3,207 from Kenya. – “More Africans Enter U.S. Than in Days of Slavery,”

Source: Sam Roberts 

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The Military-Industrial Complex Rules  

 

Next year, reports Jane's Defense Industry, the United States will spend as much on defense as the rest of the world combined. Yet the Pentagon now admits that our military is having severe trouble attracting recruits, and would have difficulty dealing with potential foes - those that, unlike Saddam's Iraq, might pose a real threat. “Staying What Course?” 

Source: Paul Krugman, NYTimes, May 16, 2005 

 

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J.P. Morgan's Link to Slavery

COVINGTON, La. -- Hired by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., historian James Lide descended on this quiet hamlet last year and began digging into the 170-year-old records of Citizens Bank of Louisiana, a predecessor of the New York bank.

After 3,500 hours of research, he confirmed what his client didn't want to hear: Between 1834 and 1861, Citizens had secured loans with mortgages on land -- and thousands of slaves.  

After months of research, Mr. Lide and his team submitted a detailed report to the bank, listing the slaves attached to the mortgages and the foreclosures that led to the Citizens' slave ownership, as well as those of another Louisiana bank of the era, New Orleans Canal & Banking Company. All in all, the two banks linked to J.P. Morgan used more than 13,000 slaves as collateral and wound up owning about 1,250 of them when borrowers defaulted.

 

Source: “Bank's Distant Predecessor Took Human Collateral For Rich Client's Debt” by ROBIN SIDEL Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL May 10, 2005; Page A1

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Sex at the Margins

Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry

By Laura María Agustín

This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label 'trafficked' does not accurately describe migrants' lives and that the 'rescue industry' serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice. "Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality."—Lisa Adkins, University of London

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Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson's stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who've accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela's rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela's regime deems Wilderson's public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. Wilderson has a distinct, powerful voice and a strong story that shuffles between the indignities of Johannesburg life and his early years in Minneapolis, the precocious child of academics who barely tolerate his emerging political consciousness. Wilderson's observations about love within and across the color line and cultural divides are as provocative as his politics; despite some distracting digressions, this is a riveting memoir of apartheid's last days.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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