Saturday :: Apr 15, 2006

Running Out Of White Power

by pessimist

Jim Crow-type laws for those who aren't Topper$ seems to be what Bu$hCo has in mind for the American society, with the non-Topper White members being slightly favored through not being subjected to the sort of law enforcement scrutiny which set off Rep. Cynthia McKinney into reacting in an ill-considered manner, something which, as one of her constituents protested, "Had she been one of the white persons, they would not have asked for her ID."

There are many instances in our history which support that claim, including this one occuring in an area not far from McKinney's district:

FBI reexamines '46 lynchings by white mob
By Greg Bluestein, Associated Press
April 14, 2006

ATLANTA -- Nearly 60 years after a white mob lynched two black couples on a summer afternoon and got away with it, the FBI is taking another look at the case. Civil rights activists have pressed witnesses to come forward and break the silence about the case, which they say is the nation's last unsolved public lynching.

"The African-American community in Walton County told me years ago [that] if we're going to get justice, it has to come from the federal government," said state Representative Tyrone Brooks, president of the Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials. "Our hope is that the federal government will take this case and move it to a federal jury."

The Associated Press learned about the renewed federal interest when the FBI recently denied a 13-month-old request by the news organization to see the bureau's 3,770-page case file on the lynchings. The FBI rejected the request, saying the release of the file could interfere with a pending investigation.

An even older case of racial hatred is also generating renewed interest.

Idaho murals of lynching spark debate
By John Miller, Associated Press
April 13, 2006

BOISE, Idaho -- For 66 years, two murals depicting the lynching of an Indian have hung in a now-abandoned county courthouse in Idaho's capital -- reminders of the bloodshed that accompanied America's westward expansion. Race relations in Idaho, home to the white supremacist Aryan Nations group until 2004, have been a sore spot for years.
In the 1990s, District Judge Gerald Schroeder, now Idaho's chief justice,
found the murals so offensive that he draped an American flag over them,
keeping them covered for eight years.
The murals show an Indian in buckskin breeches, on his knees with his hands bound behind his back. He is flanked by one man holding a rifle, and another armed man holding one end of a noose dangling from a tree. The pictures show the moments before the Indian is hanged.

Starting in 2008, the Idaho Legislature plans to meet in the old Ada County courthouse while the century-old state Capitol undergoes a $115 million expansion. A week ago, the Legislature approved $5.9 million to begin moving its offices to the courthouse, which the state bought five years ago after a new courthouse was built several blocks away.

People entering the courthouse will have to walk past the murals as they climb the steps to where the House and Senate will meet. And lawmakers, historians, and Indian leaders disagree over whether the murals should be preserved as history or removed or covered up as disturbing and offensive.

Arthur Hart, director emeritus of the Idaho State Historical Society and author of a 2005 book on the courthouse, acknowledged the scenes are "not politically correct anymore," but said removing them would detract from their historical significance. Preservationists said they will fight efforts to remove the murals, products of the Works Progress Administration Artists Project, a Depression-era program that put artists to work. Twenty-six murals in all were painted in Southern California and then mounted in the courthouse in 1940.

"All of the murals need to be evaluated, both for their appropriateness and their artistic value. I find those offensive," said state Senator Joe Stegner, whose district includes the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.

"They should be painted over," said Claudeo Broncho of the Shoshone-Bannock tribe, whose traditional territory included Ada County.

Others want the murals to remain as reminders of injustices committed against Indians. "The shame is not on those who painted the picture, but on those who refuse to acknowledge our history for what it is," said Ted Howard, cultural resources director for the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes on the Idaho-Nevada line.

While Hart said the lynching murals do not represent any known event in Ada County,
they are representative of things that went on in Idaho and elsewhere across the West.
Just west of Ada County, near present-day Middleton on the Oregon Trail, at least four Shoshone Indians were hanged in 1854 after the massacre of a group of settlers. The Idaho State Historical Society says the Indians murdered settlers in a wagon train; Howard of the Shoshone-Paiute tribe says the executed Indians were innocents.

Near the Idaho-Washington line, Qualchan, a Palouse Indian, was hanged at the conclusion of the Coeur d'Alene War of 1858.

Racism is not just a part of our 'ancient' [read: BB - before Bu$h] history - it's as new as Tom DeLay's latest excuses as to why he should avoid Texas justice (one which often used a rope!).

Just north of the state which generated the Warren Supreme Court to end separate-but-equal schooling, Nebraska is reinstating it:

Omaha Schools Split Along Race Lines
By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press Writer
Last update: April 13, 2006

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - In a move decried by some as state-sponsored segregation, the Legislature voted Thursday to divide the Omaha school system into three districts - one mostly black, one predominantly white and one largely Hispanic. The 45,000-student Omaha school system is 46 percent white, 31 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Asian or American Indian.
Omaha Sen. Pat Bourne decried the bill, saying,
"We will go down in history as one of the first states in 20 years to set race relations back."
Boundaries for the newly created districts would be drawn using current high school attendance areas. That would result in four possible scenarios; in every scenario, two districts would end up with a majority of students who are racial minorities. The breakup would not occur until July 2008, leaving time for lawmakers to come up with another idea.
"History will not, and should not, judge us kindly,"
said Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha.
Supporters said the plan would give minorities control over their own school board and ensure that their children are not shortchanged in favor of white youngsters. "There is no intent to create segregation," said Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, the Legislature's only black senator and a longtime critic of the school system.
He argued that the district is already segregated,
because it no longer buses students for integration
and instead requires them to attend their neighborhood school.
Chambers said the schools attended largely by minorities lack the resources and quality teachers provided others in the district. He said the black students he represents in north Omaha would receive a better education if they had more control over their district.

Coming from Chambers, the argument was especially persuasive to the rest of the Legislature, which voted three times this week in favor of the bill before it won final passage on the last day of the session.

Republican Gov. Dave Heineman signed the measure into law.

Attorney General Jon Bruning sent a letter to one of the measure's opponents saying that the bill could be in violation of the Constitution's equal-protection clause and that lawsuits almost certainly will be filed. But its backers said that at the very least, its passage will force policymakers to negotiate seriously about the future of schools in the Omaha area.

Omaha Public Schools Superintendent John Mackiel said the law is unconstitutional and will not stand. "There simply has never been an anti-city school victory anywhere in this nation," Mackiel said. "This law will be no exception."

"If the law supposes that," said Mr. Bumble, squeezing his hat emphatically in both hands, "the law is a ass--a idiot."

Straight out of Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, those Brown People who labor are being punished by Mr. White Employer for daring to ask for more:

For Immigrants and Business, Rift on Protests
April 15, 2006

In the last month, hundreds of thousands of people around the country have held demonstrations pressing for legal status and citizenship for illegal immigrants.

In Bonita Springs, Fla., 10 restaurant workers were fired this week after skipping their shifts to attend a rally against legislation in Congress cracking down on illegal immigrants. In Tyler, Tex., 22 welders lost their jobs making parts for air-conditioners after missing work for a similar demonstration in that city. And so it went for employees of an asbestos removal firm in Indianapolis, a restaurant in Milwaukee, a meatpacking company in Detroit, a factory in Bellwood, Ill.

Though the number of workers who have lost their jobs across the country, estimated in the hundreds, is small compared with the numbers marching in the streets, some protest organizers say word of the firings spread rapidly and might have a chilling effect on many more workers and on students, some of whom also say they have faced discipline for missing school for rallies.

In Washington, Jaime Contreras, the president of the National Capital Immigration Coalition, said his coalition voted on Thursday night not to take part in a proposed national boycott or strike set for May 1.

"We shouldn't put our progress in jeopardy," Mr. Contreras said.
"That is a tool you use when you have to,
but you have to be completely prepared for backlash and repercussions."
Some fired workers have complained that they were being singled out for their political views, and a few have filed formal complaints with the National Labor Relations Board. Other protesters have cut deals with their employers to work extra shifts in exchange for time off, or to close down their small businesses entirely, in deference to the sentiment behind the demonstrations. In at least one instance, nearly 200 fired workers in Wisconsin were reinstated, demonstration leaders said, after the leaders met with employers, discussed the significance of the protests and threatened to identify the companies publicly.

Companies, particularly those that employ large numbers of immigrants, have found themselves wrestling with difficult and uncharted terrain. They worry about how to keep their businesses operating, fully staffed, but also not to appear insensitive to a growing political movement that in many cases sustains their work force.

"I have no problem with the demonstration, but this is a business," said Charley Bohley, an owner of Rodes restaurant and fishmarket in Bonita Springs, who fired the 10 workers there after posting a note warning employees that they could not miss work for a rally on Monday.

"Couldn't they have protested in the morning before work?
Couldn't they have protested in their hearts?"

Spoken like a true Bu$hite! But not every company is acting like a workhouse for the indigent poor:

In many cities, rally organizers said, plenty of businesses, many of which have pushed for efforts to give legal status to immigrants, cooperated with the demonstrations and allowed workers time off. In Indianapolis, one company went so far as to let 2,000 people leave their jobs for Monday's demonstration downtown, said Ken Moran, an organizer.

"For private employers, there is normally no special First Amendment right to get out of work to engage in a protest," said Rodney A. Smolla, the dean of the University of Richmond School of Law.

"A company might decide that it's good for morale
to accommodate the exercise of freedom of speech
on an issue that is very important to people,
but that's an employment judgment not law."
For the most part, "at-will" employees may be fired at any time, for any reason, said Charles B. Craver, a professor at The George Washington University Law School.

In Tyler, Tex., Maria Rodriguez described on Friday how she and others had lost their jobs putting together equipment for air-conditioners for Benchmark Manufacturing Inc. Ms. Rodriguez, 32, who said she had made $6.75 an hour after several years with the company, said she had always been given time off in the past for personal appointments.

This time, though, she was fired, she said.
"To me it seemed unfair," Ms. Rodriguez said. Even as she was being fired, she said, she saw applicants arriving at the company to replace her.

Benchmark Manufacturing issued a statement outlining the company's absence policy, and adding, "This issue is not about going to the rally, it is about following the company policies that govern every employee."

Ms. Rodriguez, a native of Mexico,
said she moved to the United States 14 years ago
and did not have legal status.
Some other advocates for those fired in other states said they did not know the legal status of the workers. In complaints filed with the government in one case, Mark A. Sweet, a lawyer for two fired restaurant workers in Milwaukee, said the restaurant had violated the National Labor Relations Act by firing the workers for what he considered legally protected activities: efforts to assist in the mutual aid and protection of themselves and other immigrant workers.

Other legal experts, however, questioned whether such a provision would apply to a public rally, and suggested that the workers had few remedies.

As Brown employees, that has become a given ever since Ronald Reagan taught corporate America that workers had lost all of their rights once they had voted for him because he wasn't going to enforce the law in their favor, promoting instead the interests of employers.


Groups Ask Mexicans to Boycott U.S. Firms
By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer

MEXICO CITY - "Nothing gringo!" warns the rallying cry of Mexican activists calling for a boycott of all U.S. businesses south of the border on May 1. The Mexican boycott was being promoted on Web sites and through e-email messages, one of which warns that "people shouldn't buy anything from the interminable list of American businesses in Mexico.
"That means no Dunkin' Donuts, no McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, Sears, Krispy Kreme or Wal-Mart," the message said.
The campaign, aimed at pressuring Congress to legalize undocumented migrants, was timed to coincide with "The Great American Boycott," in which activists are urging migrants in the United States to skip work and avoid spending money to demonstrate their importance to the U.S. economy.
[T]he protest targets the U.S. business community — one of the strongest supporters of legalization or guest-worker programs. "Boycotting would only hurt corporations that are backing what people want done in the immigration bill," said Larry Rubin, chief executive of the American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico.

Which could lead to the following complaint to become worse:

For some, the boycott was fueled not just by debate on the immigration bill, but by long-standing resentment over the perceived mistreatment of Mexicans in the United States. "We want to show the power we have as Mexicans," said Carlos Chavez y Pacho, vice president of the chamber of commerce in Piedras Negras, across from Eagle Pass, Texas. Chavez y Pacho is also urging Mexicans not to shop in U.S. border cities on May 1, in part to protest what he calls arrogant behavior by U.S. customs officials and border officers.

Rafael Ruiz Harrell, who writes a column in the Mexico City newspaper Metro, predicted the boycott could give rise to a broader, pan-Latino movement.

"If we could get all of Latin America, for one day, to leave the U.S. firms without customers,
we would be sending the kind of clear message they seem incapable of understanding,"
he wrote.

That 'broader, pan-Latino movement' may well be evolving:

Latin America's New Consensus
by Greg Grandin
April 13, 2006 (May 1, 2006 issue)

Asian investment, road building and common markets are not what Fidel Castro had in mind when in the 1960s he rallied third-world youth to take up arms against Yankee imperialism. Yet the rise and maintenance of the United States as a world power has long been predicated on claiming Latin America as its own.
In the past few years, however, the region's most consequential nations have refused to be conscripted into Bush's "war on terror." And unlike the way they lined up to quarantine Cuba during the cold war, they have rebuffed Washington's calls to pursue an "inoculation strategy" against Chávez, as Secretary of State Rice put it to Congress in February. Last year, Bush even saw his nominee to head the Organization of American States bested by a candidate backed by Venezuela.
Over the course of the past seven years, Latin America has seen the rebirth of nationalist and socialist political movements, movements that were long thought to have been dispatched by cold war death squads. If Latin America's new left achieves nothing else, it has at least broken the political bonds of this proprietary relationship.

Latin America's new leftists have produced over the last couple of years their own consensus, a common project to use the centrifugal forces of globalization to loosen Washington's unipolar grip. Brazil's Lula has been central to this project, especially insofar as he has helped to awaken international financial institutions to the downsides of free-market orthodoxy. Lula, said former World Bank president James Wolfensohn in an interview last year, is leading the "most important experiment in Latin America today." Still, after emerging as a spokesperson for developing countries on trade issues and leading the opposition to the FTAA over subsidies and concerns about intellectual property rights, he did begin to represent an alternative, if not to free trade then to Washington's stranglehold over the way free trade was proceeding in the Americas.

Today, roughly 300 million of Latin America's 520 million citizens live under governments that either want to reform the Washington Consensus--a euphemism for the mix of punishing fiscal austerity, privatization and market liberalization that has produced staggering levels of poverty and inequality over the past three decades--or abolish it altogether and create a new, more equitable global economy.
If a man of the left such as Lula could achieve "growth with equity"--which by Brazil's 2002 vote had become the World Bank's new mantra--in Latin America's largest economy, it would go a long way toward defining the post-Washington Consensus consensus.

Under Lula, Brazil has played a key role in fostering the economic links that have begun to wean the region from its dependence on the United States. Buoyed by Argentina's and Uruguay's turn left, and anchored by Brazil's enormous market and advanced agricultural, pharmaceutical, heavy equipment, steel and aeronautical sectors, the countries of South America have taken a number of steps to diversify the hemisphere's economy. They courted non-US trade and investment, particularly from Asia.

Fueled by a consuming thirst for Latin America's raw materials--its oil, ore and soybeans--the Chinese government has negotiated more than 400 investment and trade deals with Latin America over the past few years, investing more than $50 billion in the region. China is both Brazil's and Argentina's fourth-largest trading partner, providing $7 billion for port and railroad modernization and signing $20 billion worth of commercial agreements.
South American leaders have also sought to deepen regional economic integration, primarily by expanding the Mercosur--South America's most important commercial alliance--and embarking on an ambitious road-building project. These efforts appear to be working. In December Lula claimed that Brazil's trade with the rest of Latin America grew by nearly 90 percent since the previous year, compared with a 20 percent increase with the United States.
One sign that economic diversification is gaining force was the success last year of Argentine President Néstor Kirchner's take-it-or-leave-it offer of 30 cents on every dollar owed on its $100 billion external debt, to be paid in long-term, low-interest bonds. In the past, financial markets would have severely punished such insolence, but with Asian investment pouring in and the economy rebounding at a steady clip, a majority of lenders had no choice but to make the deal.
"For the first time in history,"
a triumphal Kirchner said in a speech to Congress reporting on the transaction,
"a restructuring process has culminated in a drastic reduction of the indebtedness of the country."
Latin America is in the middle of an election cycle that has already seen Evo Morales win in Bolivia and Michelle Bachelet, a single mother and socialist, win a third term for Chile's center-left Concertación Coalition.

On April 9 in Peru, Ollanta Humala, a nationalist former military officer backed by Chávez and Morales, came from behind to force a runoff. In the months ahead, Colombia, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela will hold presidential elections. And with center-leftist Manuel López Obrador ahead in Mexico, the Sandinistas poised to make a comeback in Nicaragua, and Chávez's re-election all but certain, the Bush Administration is nervous.

It has responded by trying to drive a wedge between what Rice describes as the "false populism" that is spreading throughout the Andes and the pragmatic reformism of Chile, Uruguay and Brazil--in other words, between the "statesmen" and the "madmen," as Chávez recently put it.
As its political and economic influence in the region wanes, Washington has given up trying to convince Latin America to join the "war on terror," while its trade envoys are now reduced to signing bilateral deals with negligible economies like Paraguay and Ecuador to dilute opposition to the FTAA.

The White House, under the sway of neocon ultras, has further backed itself into a corner by encouraging Chávez's adversaries to go for broke. Rather than patiently broadening a base of opposition and accumulating grievances, they have pursued an increasingly desperate series of actions--a coup attempt, an oil strike, the recall and, most recently, a boycott of legislative elections--that have left their nemesis strengthened and themselves discredited.

Washington may be laying the groundwork for the same all-or-nothing strategy against Morales, having just announced that it is cutting off 96 percent of its military aid to Bolivia, a move that seems calculated to provoke the armed forces to act.

The Bush Administration now promises to wage a battle for the "future of Latin America," but with few options left--except, of course, the military one--it is unclear if it will have any more success in what used to be the United States's backyard than it is having now in the Middle East.

Is the excuse then going to be 'We need to fight them over there so we don't fight them over here"?

The world doesn't see White as Right anymore - not once Brown comes 'round. Our doctine of 'Might Make$ Right' will have taught the brown peoples of the Americas how our game is played - and we will find ourselves learning the same lessons that Custer did via relatives of these new economic powerbrokers:

Mad Brown Men can really ruin your day!

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