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I have little evidence that Condi is as sensitive as Carter when it comes to the Negro

 and the structural poverty in which the majority of them are immersed. Woodrow

Wilson, though lauded for his intelligence, was a racist and had little regard for the Negro



Secretary Condoleezza Rice as President

The Best Thing for America & the Survival of the Planet?

The Importance of the Presidency with respect to the Negro

Conversations with Wilson, Ethelbert, Floyd, Jonathan


Wilson: I don't know if you and I will not agree, but I believe that Condoleezza  has the intelligence and sensitivity to save the world.  She is so much more intelligent than Bush or Hillary.

Alas and alack!   Race matters. I fear she will never get the chance.   Why?   Because race matters.  That's why. I think the best thing for America, and the best thing for the survival of this planet would be to see her as president of the United States. 

Rudy: Wilson, you probably have followed more closely the machinations of Condi than I. Still I am willing to allow that she is "much more intelligent than Bush or Hillary." But I am not certain what political difference such personal qualities as "sensitivity and intelligence" make in determining or forecasting what good a person will do or accomplish as President. Two individuals come readily to mind, namely, Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter. Both were thought extraordinarily intelligent and maybe Carter was indeed sensitive with regard to the Negro and the poor, at least, in a symbolic sense. Maybe even more so than Clinton.

I have little evidence that Condi is as sensitive as Carter when it comes to the Negro situation and the structural poverty in which the majority of them are immersed. Woodrow Wilson, though lauded for his intelligence, was a racist and had little regard for the Negro. In any event, at this stage, I am not certain what any individual can do in the office of the presidency to save America or the planet.

There is a national commitment to subordinate the Middle East to US military power to secure the availability of oil for US consumption. That means more war and more war expenditures, hundreds of billions. There is in addition a national commitment, presently, to subordinate the influence of urban centers in which the Negro is in a majority or a near majority.

However intelligent and sensitive Condi may be to the national integrity of Muslim countries and to black progress there are powerful forces arrayed against progressive policies. There are religious Conservatives, fiscal Conservatives, political Conservatives well funded and armed to sustain white supremacy at home and abroad. A Condi win would mean additionally a win for these forces. Thus the race in the personal sense of the president would not make a whit of difference.

In short, I think you place too much confidence in what can be accomplished by a single individual, especially a politician like Condi who seems, despite her black skin, as much of a White Nationalist as Woodrow Wilson and George Bush. . . .

By the way, have you read Ronald Walters' White Nationalism, Black Interests? At this stage I am thinking that an appreciation of this scholarly work might go a long way in dealing with a lot of political naiveté among both black and white voters and what it will take to make a turn around in both national and domestic U.S. policies. I suspect that it will take decades to undo the damage that Bush and the Republicans have done to this country.

Wilson: I did not say that Condi would save the planet.  I simply said that she is better suited than Bush or Hilary to do so.  The other persons who seem to have the qualifications to be president are Specter and McCain.

Woodrow Wilson was a typical American Ph.D., and I don't equate that with  intelligence.  You can read his "scholarly" publications, and evaluate them on their merits, and you will see that he was not terribly intelligent.

Rudy: yes, McCain seems to be a flower in a sea of Republican mire. My friend Sharif believes that he is the Republican's best hope and will probably get the nomination. But I have little confidence in him either when it comes to black interests. In addition, he is also geared toward the military conquest of the Middle East.

If we are going to use scholarly publications as a measure of intelligence, rather than anecdotal information, I do not know where Dr. Rice stands in that regard.

Wilson: Touchee!  Condi has no record of publication to speak of, but she does have administrative experience, and they say she has been surprisingly professional (as opposed to ideological) at the State Department

The Negro is not and never will be a factor in American politics.

Ethelbert:  Happy New Year! A better book to read might be The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-first Century by John Hope Franklin. It was published by the University of Missouri Press in 1993. Here is an excerpt:

It is too much to claim that the president of the United States, by his words and deeds, can unilaterally determine the course of history during his administration and countless subsequent years. It is not too much to assert, however, that the president of the United States, through his utterances and the policies he pursues, can greatly influence the national climate in which people live and work as well as their attitudes regarding the direction the social order should take.

Rudy: Wilson, your cryptic statement "The Negro is not and never will be a factor in American politics"defies common sense. In actuality the Negro is at the very center of American politics, in the words of Walters, as "target." With respect to the Conservative movement from the late 70s until now, the Negro and urban centers in which the Negro is found indeed become the target as a means of furthering the Conservative agenda, with its so-called "war on government" or "trickle down economics." One only needs to do a cursory review of the rhetoric of the 1990s led by then Congressman Newt Gingrich, who may also be a presidential candidate.

Here is a sample of his language: "These [poor] neighborhoods pay almost no taxes anyway and since they drain the public treasury through welfare payments, the cost of giving them tax breaks would be relatively small." This coded language, of course, has much more to do with White racial perceptions than the actual reality of American life. Andrew Brimmer, economist and former member of the Federal Reserve Bank, Walters points out, "found that Blacks pay $5.3 billion in taxes annually, and that most of them are part of the working poor."

The accent in your statement is on the word "factor." One does indeed get that impression when one watches evening and Sunday talk programs, or listens to politicians that the Negro is indeed invisible in American politics. The talk of these journalists and intellectuals with respect to American politics (domestic and foreign) the concerns or opinions of the Negro are indeed not a "factor," that is, not figured in as significant or important. Their views and desires are rendered inconsequential. This is indeed a symptom of the White Nationalist project, according to White Nationalism, Black Interests.

Floyd:  And then there is the book by black conservative political scientist Carol Swain, entitled The New White Nationalism in American: Its Challenge to Integration (2002).  In some ways, Walters' book is a response to Swain who says that Black people need to stop making white people angry; that's the way to advance Black interests.  Damn! 

Clinton as Liberal, Condi as Savior

Rudy: Ethelbert, Happy New Year. I agree with John Hope Franklin that a president "can greatly influence the national climate." We can see that with Lincoln. We can see that with respect to Clinton, who might be viewed as a magician. What usually happens with such persons is that it seems as if you are experiencing real progress when you are not. That is if you end up swallowing a sugar coated policy that is highly poisonous in the end. With respect to Lincoln, we end with a Plessy and another hundred years of racial oppression in another form. With respect to Clinton, we get Bush . . .

Clinton was loved by black folks. Some wanted to make him an honorary black. The thing is that he did not alter the Conservative policy shift. There was too much in place: conservative journalists and their organs (Commentary, New Republic, National Review, Encounter, Public Opinion, Common Sense, et al); conservative think tanks (American Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, Hoover Institute, Center for International and Strategic Studies at Georgetown, etc.); media (talk radio and Establishment media); a host of scholars (James Q. Wilson, Ralph Reed, George Gilder, Charles Murray and Richard Hernstein, Byron Roth, et al), Progressive intellectuals (Willard Gaylin, Ira Glasser, Steven Marcus, and David Rothman, et al), and the extraordinary and more damaging funding of hundreds of millions (if not billions of) dollars and influence of corporate power to sustain the Conservative movement.

All coalescing around the theme of policy failure (of Great Society programs) and how to deal with the Negro and urban poverty. In any event it should not be a matter of which book is "better." Both books should be given attention. The importance of Walters book White Nationalism, Black Interests is that it explains or provides the background of how the Conservative policy shift or the "policy of racism" or the new White Nationalism came into existence, thus producing an Iraq War and the devastation of New Orleans.

Floyd: It is not simply a matter of Condoleezza Rice's "intelligence and sensitivity," to certain Black interests.  That is not her concern.  What is significant is her knowledge and commitment to some degree of social responsibility—perhaps to Black people but surely to the nation and to the world.   

What evidence do we have that she is remotely interested in improving the social conditions of the world's unwanted populations?  For me, there is a deeper concern, which has to do with her supposed brilliance.  I want to question that assumption.  Indeed, I want to challenge the increasingly dominant role of expertise in contemporary politics.

I gather that Rice is a specialist on modern European politics.  This means that she may very well be an expert on the dynamics of the modern state—that is, the state as actor in world politics.  From commentaries and reports about 9/11, as well as her comments before the 9/11 Committee, it seems that she was completely unaware of the significance of Al Qaeda.  Here was action taken by a sub-national or sub-state actor about which Rice seemed intellectually vacant. 

Hence, the problem with expertise.  One can know more and more about less and less until one may know nothing at all of significance with respect to taking action.  The Bush regime attacked not Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden but Iraq and  Saddam Hussein.  In the process, the Bush regime alienated America from the rest of the world.  Rice has been a willing participant.

Of course, it now is well documented that the Bush war criminals had desired to invade Iraq from the moment they came into office in 2000 (see the recent book of interesting essays, entitled Neo-Conned! Again: Hypocrisy, Lawlessness, and the Rape of Iraq, edited by O'Huallachain & Sharpe).  This reality does not negate Rice's limited intellectual vision regarding Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.  It speaks loudly about her intellectual narrowness and rigidity. 

On this latter point, don't forget that she was a tyrant as provost at Stanford U. before joining Bush's gang of criminals.  What is evident is that she has readily participated in the lies, arrogance, ignorance, and secrecy of a presidential junta that has put at serious risk not only American citizens but also the world.  No one can say honestly that following Bush's unilateral invasion of Iraq Americans feel safer at home or abroad.  

No one can say truthfully that American soldiers are winning, or can win, the war in Iraq.  Moreover, the Bush regime's willful and illegal surveillance of Americans under minds the US Constitution.  Secretive state surveillance is one of the major elements of fascism.  Is this where America is headed?

Congress should have impeached Bush years ago. 

Now, the thought of Rice running for the presidency and winning in 2008 is upsetting to the max.  The problem is that for many years to come America will remain in the grips of a conservative political culture.  It matters not whether the Republicans or the Democrats run the government.  Actually, what exists today is one party: the Republicrats!  

Recall that Bill Clinton's neo-liberalism was very much like Reagan conservatism, especially in the area of social policy.  A Rice presidency would continue the downward spiral of conservatism.  And if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, something similar also would take place.  We see her strategic shift to the right taking place before our eyes.  The question is whether a new presidential administration will turn the tide of American imperialism, seeking to improve this nation's image around the world.  

There is growing resentment against America from a variety of nations, and American hegemony is being challenged by the peoples in Asia and in the Arab-Muslim world.  Even former European nations (except England) are backing away from America.  Now, as a member of the Bush team, can Rice really repair and redeem America?  I think not.

This is why I have begun reading Edward Gibbons' eight-volume study, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Rome Empire.  Therein might be some lessons that could inform the decadence and decline of the American empire.

Rudy: Floyd, very nice. I like the ending: your reading Gibbons. That's a real good laugh. I do not see how we will avoid destroying the country with the present Conservative agenda. There is no way that our military and our politicians can manage the Middle East without bankrupting the government. And China is waiting in the wings. Latin America no longer fears the US for it sees that the US military is going to be bogged down with the Middle East for decades with the present policy. The best option for us well meaning folks is to get educated on the facts of our condition and the forces arrayed against us. There is a definite need to challenge the black leadership within the Democratic Party. They are quickly becoming a reactionary force.

Jonathan: i don't think it's controversial to suggest that not only did clinton not shift u.s. politics away from a neo-conservative path but in fact he enabled it. there are many things one could point to: (1) the rapid upward redistribution of wealth under clinton; (2) the crime bill; (3) the repeal of welfare; (4) his far-right pro-israel foreign policy; (5) the murderous sanctions policy against iraq; and (6) the criminal bombing of kosovo. clinton was one of the most right-wing presidents in u.s. history, more reactionary than nixon.

i've often been vexed by the notion that clinton was the "first black president." toni morrison said it and i think she meant it ironically, because she explained later that she felt clinton was the first u.s. president to actually feel comfortable around black people. it really shows just how desperate a situation we're in politically when a powerful white person is called "black" merely because they are not instantly repulsed by the presence of black folk.  

Rudy: You are on the mark, and with the details. I heard some commentator the other evening on a news program argue that Clinton was a Liberal to demonstrate there was nothing odd that Bush the Radical Conservative (White Nationalist) was spying on the American public. Thus Bush was within his Constitutional rights as chief executive, for other Presidents had done the same, including "Liberal" presidents. 

These kinds of myths and stereotypes mouthed also by blacks themselves, parroting the Conservative political subterfuge all over the Establishment media (however seemingly moderate or liberal), are disspelled by Walters' book, not by rhetoric, but with a thorough history of policy decisions made during the 80s and 90s and of how support was garnered for these policies from blue collar white workers, the so-called Reagan Democrats, and others.

But worst, even the most informed among us, black and white, became silent under the barrage of such racist policies. Here is what Walters points out:

By the late 1990s, the concept of social policy failure, surprisingly, not refuted by Liberal and progressive social policy analysts, had become a staple of the White Nationalist claim that its more Conservative policies would be more successful both for Blacks and for other disadvantaged minorities as well.

With respect to social policy failure of LBJ's Great Society programs, the White Nationalist ideology, Walters points out, "will not yield to mountains of facts to the contrary. . . . If nothing worked, then where did the Black middle class come from?"

Every president since the late 1970s has sought to undermine, eliminate, disparage LBJ's Great Society Program. I am willing to bet none remembers the Comprehensive Education and Training Act (CETA) and have no idea why it does not exist today when poverty is now more rampant in the urban cities than ever. Check the Abell Report to review the urban devastation caused by the Conservative Agenda or Gingrich's "Contract with America" or Clinton's "Reinventing Government."  

None remember when grants to cities stopped and that Clinton was  as much a part of the "devolution revolution" or "devolution ideology" as the White Nationalist ideologues. Cutting aid to cities was not just a Republican program. It became a national mantra. Clinton was responsible also for promoting block grants to states. Adult education program funding further declined under the Clinton administration. He did nothing to correct the "distorted image of minorities in America."

Again, it is necessary, it is obligatory that every literate— and well-meaning person should read Walters White Nationalism, Black Interests. The truths found within are disturbing, but necessary to grasp. For we will not be informed of the harsh realities now facing us by the evening news or the talk programs. Every major American city is another New Orleans tragedy waiting to happen.

*   *   *   *   *

A friend of ChickenBones, Anita, provided us with this musical response to Bill Clinton:

Well, here was one Clinton fan! The late A.C. Reed (tenor saxman) that backed a lot of blues musicians and I thought of this song when I read your email because when I first heard it I realized that what constitutes a good American president, varies! A.C. usually wrote funny lyrics like his friend the great 'Master of the Telecaster' blues guitarist A.C. Collins. Anyway, I thought you'd find this one amusing.

The President Plays   

<boogie beat>

President got elected
You know, it made me feel so fine
I grabbed my saxophone
And went down to the Kingston Mine

I was feelin' so good
You know I wasn't sad and blue
I didn't mind playin' horn
'Cause the President played one, too

President plays the saxophone
Best man we've ever known
President plays the saxophone
Best man we ever known
He make a good President
'Cause he played the saxophone

When he have a little fun
It really doesn't matter what he play
He didn't play a little golf
'Cause he play golf ev'ryday

We don't care what he plays
As long as he don't do nothin' wrong
'Cause he's the first President we got
Playin' the saxophone

President plays the saxophone
Best man we ever known
President plays saxophone
Best man we ever known
He makes a good President
'Cause he plays the saxophone

(instrumental  & sax)

I was born in Missouri
He was born in Arkansas
He done be for the people
'Cause he really, really, know the law

We don't care where he come from
It doesn't matter where he was born
Get along with the Republicans
He can still play the saxophone

President plays saxophone
Best man we ever known
President plays saxophone
He the best man we ever known
He make a good President
'Cause he played the saxophone

President plays saxophone
Best man we ever known
President plays saxophone
Best man we ever known
We got the first President
We got, playin' the saxophone

(instrumental to end)

*   *   *   *   *

Album: Junk Food (with Albert Collins) Trk 5    3:32
AC Reed  (Aaron Carthen)
Lead vocal - A.C. Reed
guitar - Johnny B. Gayden, organ - Roosevelt Purifoy
drums - Casey Jones (poss.) female bkrd unk.
Delmark Records, DE 726 Chicago (1999)

Transcriber: Awcantor

*   *   *   *   *

Rice hits U.S. 'birth defect'— Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national "birth defect" that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country's very founding. "Black Americans were a founding population," she said. "Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That's not a very pretty reality of our founding."

As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that." "That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today," she said. Race has become an issue in this year's presidential campaign, which prompted a much-discussed speech last week by Sen. Barack Obama, one of the two remaining contenders for the Democratic nomination. Miss Rice declined to comment on the campaign, saying only that it was "important" that Mr. Obama "gave it for a whole host of reasons."

But she spoke forcefully on the subject, citing personal and family experience to illustrate "a paradox and contradiction in this country," which "we still haven't resolved." On the one hand, she said, race in the U.S. "continues to have effects" on public discussions and "the deepest thoughts that people hold." On the other, "enormous progress" has been made, which allowed her to become the nation's chief diplomat. "America doesn't have an easy time dealing with race," Miss Rice said, adding that members of her family have "endured terrible humiliations." "What I would like understood as a black American is that black Americans loved and had faith in this country even when this country didn't love and have faith in them — and that's our legacy," she said.  WashingtonTimes

posted 1 January 2005

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the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

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In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power--and the enormous risks--of the dollar's worldwide reign.  The Economy

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Ancient African Nations

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