Saturday, January 14, 2006

The Second American Civil War Part 3

1963 saw the advent of the Freedom Riders, groups riding the Greyhound Buses to towns and cities in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The skirmishes had been heating up for sometime. The idea of peaceful civil disobedience was gaining currency as public opinion began to shift, very slowly, in favor of those demanding that their civil rights be honored . There were Freedom Marches and there were deaths. In 1962 the attempt to integrate the University of Mississippi resulted in riots and the deaths of two French journalists. Three young men, two white and one black, were murdered by police officers near Meridian Mississippi their killers, though known were never prosecuted. Viola Luizzo was shot and killed while driving a black man to his home. Medgar Evars was shot in his driveway by a sniper, the killer was imprisoned 40 years later. The war had begun to heat up in earnest.

The riots in California that destroyed theWatts district in 1964 spread to Atlanta in 1965 and to Newark NJ in 1967. The country was tearing itself apart over race and over the Vietnam war. It is a tribute to the citizens of the United States that the country was able to stay pretty much intact, though those days are still being felt in the political life of the nation.

The greatest hero of the second American Civil War was of course Martin Luther King,jr. Without him the country would have fallen apart and most likely into two armed camps in a situation not unlike Lebanon. The leadership at the Federal level was pathetic. The so-called boy wonder John F. Kennedy wanted to do as little as politically possible to remedy the situation. The Democrat party was pretty much controlled at that time by the Southern members of congress, as they held the majority of the leadership positions. The FBI was corrupt under the control of J.Edgar Hoover, who considered all activists to be Communist agents. Undoubtedly there were communist sympathisers and in fact many black leaders endorsed Marxism as the way to reorganize the country.

The greatest tragedy still lay ahead, an incident that actually propelled and stopped the civil rights movement simultaneously. Come back tomorrow for that discussion

Friday, January 13, 2006

The 2nd American Civil War Part 2

1956, the year my family moved from California to Georgia was an eye-opening experience for me. While attending school in Monterey and Pacific Grove I would take the bus, public transportation. You could sit anywhere on the bus and I usually sat near the door. I don’t remember the buses being particularly crowded but that memory might be a bit foggy as I was just six years old. No black people on the bus, on the horizon, in view, nothing.

I also rode the bus to school in Atlanta, the #2 Westview, which went from my bus stop on Ponce de Leon , stopping at Sacred Heart Church where I got off, then it continued to the end of the line at the Westview Cemetery. There were black people on the bus, they sat in the back. I remember there were vinyl screens that separated the white from the black sections though you could easily see each other. Whites could sit in the back, we school children often did, but blacks could not sit in front. There even stencils posted instructing Negroes to sit in the rear of the bus. This all changed when Rosa Parks decided she was too tired to walk to the back of the bus.

Rosa Parks was the catalyst of the modern phase of the second American Civil War. Though change, real change, was in the air with the 1954 case of Brown vs.Board of Education. Living in Georgia in the 1950s blacks were basically invisible. My classmates and friends, I have since figured out, were white southerners first, Roman Catholics second, and citizens of the United States third. The word nigger was commonplace, even to my surprise and confusion among the blacks you could hear conversing on the street. It was a time of turmoil just beginning, it was not unusual to read in the newspaper of a black man being sentenced to death for raping a white woman or of hearing on the radio about a lynching. At my age then, about 10 years old, it just another thing happening. At age 13 I got a job delivering newspapers and became an avid reader of the Atlanta Journal. The Ku Klux Klan was an organization I became familiar with because they hated blacks, Jews, and Catholics, and I remember feeling a slight sense of fear about them. Nothing, I imagine, like the fear black folks felt.

As I look back on Atlanta in the 1950s and 60s it is a time that seems unimaginable today, but it happened. There was a thriving Afro-American community at the time, centered in Auburn Avenue and the surrounding streets. We called it “Buttermilk Bottom” a slightly nicer name than “Nigger Town”. It’s mostly gone now thanks to urban redevelopment and welfare. We watched on television as Martin Luther King jr. went to Montgomery, Alabama to promote the boycott of the white owned stores in support of Rosa Parks. A judge ordered an end to the boycott, which even at my age, seemed stupid. How can you force people to shop where they don’t want to? The protest worked, the bus rules were changed and the fight was on. I wouldn’t be long before a second Federal invasion of the south would take place.

I happened in Little Rock, Arkansas when Governor Faubaus refused to allow black students to attend Central High School. President Eisenhower was outraged and dispatched the 101st Airborne Division to enforce the law, a visible result of the  Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.. Only those who lived through those times can know the feelings of fear, and hatred that began to permeate every conversation. We hear about it now, but history is empty of emotion and cannot convey what people went through at the time.

All next month will be “Black History Month” a meaningless gesture attempting to keep these events fresh and to build “Black Self-Esteem”. Until we can see the person beneath the skin these wounds will be difficult to heal.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Second American Civil War

This is the first in a series of posts that will culminate on Monday January 19, 2006. The course of history is often a reflection of the after effects of great events. This is true today as the entire world struggles with the after effects of the First World War. The Ottoman Empire, among others, was toppled and the present day countries of the Middle East were created by France and Great Britain. This kind of after effect is also part of the life of nations. I want to discuss the second Civil War experienced by the United States of America.

Though the first American Civil War ended April12, 1865 at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia only the flames were dampened, the embers continued to seethe. The second American Civil War, which might be described by some as a Cold War, really got into high gear with the end of the Reconstruction Period during the 1870s. At that point the vanquished southern states were able to regain control of their destinies and they began to turn back the hands of time. Slavery had been abolished in 1863 by Lincoln in a purely political move to hamstring farm production in the Confederacy. By 1879 the so-called Jim Crow laws had reduced many former slaves to a de facto return to their former status. The white population still owned the land and means of production, the blacks possessed most of the labor. Unfortunately the former slaves were not in a strong bargaining position because they needed to sell this labor at any price just to survive.

Migration to the North was feasible but not very tenable as blacks were no more welcome up north than were the Irish, Italians, and Poles. Prejudice was rife, especially in New York City. So, the  blacks stayed “home” enduring limited persecutions and abuse in the form of lynching for being uppity, whippings, burnouts of their homes, and other behavior by whites that was stimulated by fear and insecurity.

Some of the heroes of the second Civil War were W.E.B. Dubouis, GW Carver, Dwight Eisenhower, Rosa Parks, and the most important; Martin Luther King jr. These men and women took tremendous risks to free their people; a struggle that was long and bloody. As in any war there were heroes killed in action, I plan to discuss some of these people later this week. For most white people the struggle was invisible and for those who were aware of it many found it confusing, unnecessary, and frightening.

I only became aware of this struggle at the age of 10. I had never seen a black person until that time. Though I was born in Louisiana my family moved to California when I was two years old. We lived in a small town called Pacific Grove. I attended the local Catholic school and there were no black children at the school or even in town I guess. There were  Latino children so I knew not everyone was like me. We moved to Atlanta Georgia in 1956; what a change! My first eye-opening experience in the south happened one day on a school trip. There were no black children in that school either, though I suppose there weren’t many black Roman Catholics at the time. The class had been taken to a city park to have a field day of some sort. It was very hot and we got thirsty. We formed a line at the water fountain, it seemed like a long line to a10-year-old. The line formed at a water fountain that was painted white. There was another water fountain, but it was painted black, there was no line there. I looked around and saw that I would have a long wait, so I went over to the fountain that was painted black and slaked my thirst. The reaction from my classmates and teachers was immediate and angry. The water fountains were segregated but I didn’t know it. I don’t remember segregation in California.
I learned about it that day.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Samuel Alito- The Right Judge at the Right Time

I wonder how many people outside the US understand the process that is occurring in the Senate? For that matter I wonder how many US citizens understand? For me this is a critical juncture in the task of reining in the court and returning power to the people’s representatives. The US is fairly evenly divided in political thought with slightly more leaning libertarian to conservative. This is very frustrating for the intellectuals, or least the self styled ones, who feel that they know what is best for the American people. These are the same people who actually hate the United States even though they are protected by its laws and prosper in its freedom. They want to go back to the womb; the mother country. The contempt in which the rest of the world seems to hold the United States is frustrating to them because when they go to Europe or Asia they are tarred with the same brush. More than anything else the American liberal brain trust wants to be considered first class citizens of the world. This of course will never happen.

Back to Judge Alito, he is important because he might actually be the vote that overturns Roe v. Wade. The opponents of Judge Alito rightly suppose this to be the case and insist on blocking him for that reason, no matter what else they say. ( If the Democrats fail to block this nominee their base of support will be enraged and might try to get rid of the present batch and put in a new bunch.)This is important because during the last fifty years the courts have actually made the law because they perceived the legislators as moving too slowly. The most recent example of this is the decision to alter the protection of private property from expropriation by the government; local, state, or national. In this case eminent domain was used to take property from the rightful owners and re-sell the property to private developers so that a profit on the real estate could be made. The irony of the situation is that the original decision was made by the Democrat city council to take this action. (This will be the topic of another rant)

What the United States needs more than ever is a congress that will act in the best interests of the nation, instead of for their personal gain either in reputation or monetary, and a court that decides cases based on the written law. The law clerks who do the research for the judges should also be scrutinized as I think they are far more influential than anyone supposes. At any rate the Supreme Court of the US should be far more humble it is approach to taking issues out of the hands of voters and out of the public discourse. Resolution may take longer if this occurs, but perhaps that is better. For example, abortion is really a moot question because there are so many ways to obviate it.

The most interesting component of the current hearings is the possibility of a filibuster, which should trigger the constitutional or nuclear option. That is changing the senate rules to prohibit a filibuster against judicial nominees. If wars are won in the will, this test of wills between Republican and Democrat senators should prove which side is the most committed to its ideals. My guess is that the Republican rank and file doesn’t have the stomach for such a fight and will remain cowardly in their behavior.

I hope Judge Alito is confirmed. It will be a turning point in the political life of the United States, and will without question be the most enduring act of George Bush’s presidency.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Belafonte Has Gone Crazy

Harry Belafonte has lost his mind, but apparently he is right about one thing; some Americans agree with him.  I have already written about some of this but it bears saying again. The Left in the United States is morally and intellectually bankrupt. The Right in the United States is not far behind.

Anyone who praises Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro is either incredibly naïve, extremely uninformed, or just plain stupid. For Harry Belafonte to call George Bush a dictator and a terrorist illustrates in the simplest terms how when someone with Belafonte’s perspective opens his mouth to speak; nothing comes out. Mr. Belafonte would not be able to make the same statement about Chavez or Castro, in their respective countries, without being imprisoned shortly afterwards. George Bush will not be president or even much of a political force after 2008. Mr. Castro has been in power since 1959, that’s 47 years, and it would not surprise me to find out that Mr. Chavez intends to be president for life.

Belafonte applauds the socialist revolution in Venezuela, as a journalist I must disagree with his assessment. I have met and interviewed many Venezuelans and while there are many supporters of Chavez at the moment, among the youth there are but a few. This is not good for the future of the socialist revolution, which will collapse under its own weight as it ruins what is left of a vital economy. Socialism doesn’t work, period. Look around the world. All this talk of an elite running the US is actually true and it is true everywhere. Elite doesn’t have to be a bad word it simply means the best. This word has been corrupted to refer to wealth and the privilege that derives from wealth. In another sense it is used to convey contempt for those who have risen to power or have simply excelled in their chosen field.

It is normal for human beings to resent those in power particularly if they are not providing real leadership, as is the case most of the time. Who really believes that Fidel Castro has been a beneficial leader for the Cuban people? He is what he calls the United States; an imperialist. His goal of quashing dissent, evidenced by his imprisonment of journalists and political opponents, and of exporting his brand of communism is the same as colonizing another society. Why the Left loves Castro and Chavez is beyond me but I am glad they feel free to express their admiration. Their speeches provide a warning about what they want and what would happen if they could ever get that kind of power in the United States.

Such a disaster will not happen, but it could happen. Suppose a major economic catastrophe struck the world. Demagogues would arise and people desperate for hope would follow. The one thing that keeps the United States safe is the reasonable, not perfect, distribution of wealth, and the power of the ballot box. We are a free nation. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t meant they hate you. George Bush was fairly elected and re-elected (the polling stations in Dade county were controlled by the Democrat Party so who did the disenfranchising), and he will leave office in2008. Believe me, that is not very long from now.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Impeachment An Answer?

I see that the Democrats are starting to push very hard for the impeachment of the President. Is this their idea of winning the public over? Has our political life degenerated to the point that our elected representatives are so isolated from reality that all they can do is behave like high school sophomores? That is unkind to the high school students. What agenda are they advancing? We will have an election in 2006 and a presidential election in 2008, let the voters decide.

The grounds for impeachment appear to be the Iraq war. Well, the “prosecutors” voted for the war and have now changed their minds based on the opinion of their political base. That’s fine, their base buys them and pays for them so they should get what they paid for. Does this add credibility to their posturing? Ted Kennedy is a besotted, windbag, Joe Biden is a plagiarist, and Russ Feingold is a naïve demagogue, Charley Rangel, whom I used to admire, seems to have gone crazy.

The fact that the democrats are using an issue like tracking down terrorists by electronic eavesdropping shows how out of it they are. I for one want the people that are trying to kill us stopped. What the congress should be concentrating on is reducing energy dependence either through increased domestic production or new technology development, preferably both. It won’t be long before we are strangled by China and India because of their consumption of fossil fuels, then what? Most Americans are so poorly educated and unaware of their surroundings that they seem to believe whoever shouts the loudest about the latest sensational headline. Global warming, yes thank God; clearing dead wood from forests, as soon as possible please; drilling in ANWAR, should have already been done; all this and more is required to succeed as a nation. Constant partisan bickering, a venerable pastime, has gotten so bad that we are at a standstill, the cowardly Republican leadership and the infantile Democrat whiners are actually more of an enemy than any Muslim fanatic.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Political Dark Age In The US

The Democrat Party entered the political Dark Ages around 1990 with the election of Bill Clinton to the office of President. Until then the Party had at least the semblance of an agenda. When Clinton took over the leadership reins, the Party became a party. It has lost track of its soul. I am a registered Democrat but it is unlikely I will ever pull the Democrat handle in a voting booth any time soon. I cast my first vote, in a presidential election, for Hubert Humphrey in 1968. It was an absentee ballot cast from where I was stationed overseas. From that time on I voted strictly Democrat Party, yes even for McGovern, because I thought they had the best handle on the severe problems that were facing the nation. I began to disagree, but only slightly in 1975 when congress passed the War Powers Act, and then when Senator Frank Church and company eviscerated the CIA. I had been away during wartime and I knew how important it is for intelligence to be gathered, even using unsavory and sometimes unreliable sources. Still I stayed in and voted for Jimmy Carter. His bungling of economic conditions and his almost personal creation of the Islamic State of Iran raised real concerns. I voted for Carter a second time, mainly because I bought into the hype about Ronald Reagan being a fascist who would erode our lives and cause social and political degeneration. I was wrong and so was my Party. Even so, I voted for Mike Dukakis and succeeding Democrat losers. I also voted for Bill Clinton, the first time he ran. Of course we now know he was a charlatan.

I became disillusioned with the welfare state because I saw what really happened. The poor and racially discriminated against were making very slow progress. White society in an effort to feel good about its own prosperity destroyed, by accident I believe, black families and culture in the United States. Blacks are now just as much slaves, albeit in a different sense, as they were before the Civil War. Their leaders cannot recognize success; they are beholden to the white power structure of the Democrat Party. They are told and believe that they need handouts, whether in the form welfare checks or affirmative action, and that they are not as good as whites so they cannot be expected to stand on their own without help from the Democrat Party. That help can only be available if the Democrat Party has political control of the government. After more than fifty years why are blacks still poor and stupid? Of course they are not but are hypnotized into believing their victim hood.

In 1996 I voted for Bob Dole, something I never thought I would do. The contract with America, which resulted in a Republican victory in the House of Representatives, frightened me at first. Then I saw it working, and saw politicians actually trying to keep their promises. Not Democrats but Republicans. This was quite disturbing. When Bill and Hillary attempted a socialist coup, which is what it seemed like to me at the time I began to finally drift. I voted for George Bush in 2000, finally a winner. The ensuing behavior of the Democrats reminded me of a cornered animal. It still does, and it is scary.

The United States is in a bad way at the moment. There is no loyal opposition. There are no ideas coming from the left, just hatred and grief. Hatred because George Bush is doing a good job and grief for the loss of their political stature.  Obstruction is the only thing they can do, they are disrespectful of the electorate, considering us too stupid to be trusted. Name-calling is not a philosophy. Until the Democrat Party admits to its lack of ideas and fear of taking political risks they have no chance of taking the reins of power back from the Republicans. To my mind there are no good candidates for president on either side, so 2008 will be very interesting.
I want my Party back. I want George Soros and his ilk to Move On.