Tuesday, November 30, 2004 

Party of Financial Responsibility

So Senate Majority Leader (and senior Senator from the glorious state of Tennessee) Bill Frist is having some money problems. No, I'm not talking about HCA; the Chairman simply owes U.S. Bank close to $350,000. The initial loan of $360,000 was due back in August, at which point Frist had paid little more than $10,000, barely 3% of his balance.

No worries though, according to Frist's financial consultant Linus Catignani U.S. Bank has rolled over the loan. It is now due in early 2007 and will easily be covered by interest earnings from Frist's other holdings. However, the Bush economic recovery done little to help Frist's stock-holdings; the Senator's portfolio has dropped by over half a million dollars since the 2000 election. So with Medicare fraud off the table, one has to wonder where the money will be coming from. Perhaps the
older, male relative of mine (who shall remain nameless), who told me not to worry about the budget deficits, defended tax cuts during war-time and called the GOP "the party of financial responsibility" has answer. I'm certainly waiting for one.

Sunday, November 28, 2004 

Victory for Tax Reform?

Although I have qualms about claiming half steps as victories in most instances, it appears that the struggle for sustainable taxation in Tennessee (i.e. state monies not based on funds stolen from working families trying to buy food) may have cleared another hurdle. I hesitate to call it a victory outright, seeing as how Tennesseans for Fair Taxation has yet to post an opinion on their website; but based on this story in the Tennessean, the second option being considered by the state's Tax Structure Study Commission seems promising.

Now if we could only figure out this whole health insurance for poor kids question...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004 

Prince Charles, a Maoist?

How frightening is it when a member of the British monarchy, the quintessential idle rich, the impetus for all progressive Euro-American bourgeois class struggle, understands the peasant question better than 90% of the triad's ruling class? Examples of capitalist's obsolescence are myriad, but for christ's sake this is maddening!

Days like these make we want to lose it like Bommi Baumann.

(the npr story linked above is about the "slow food" movement, Prince Charles comes in at the end)

Monday, November 22, 2004 

Kerry gives his concession speech (and its only 3 weeks late)

Here. Perhaps the Democracts are starting to figured out what an opposition party looks like.

I know that such hopes are far fetched, but for a kid who was hard core "if you're dumb enough to vote, you're fucking dumb enough to believe them," only to be out knocking doors for the Democratic Party four years later, it helps.

Friday, November 19, 2004 

"Yes, this is class war"

Hotel workers in San Francisco are entering week 7 of their strike/lock-out. Overall it seems to be going about as well as any strike entering its 7th week could be. Kaiser Permanente and Chinese Hospital just agreed to continue providing the hotel workers and their families with health insurance through January (it was going to end in December).

Having a few thousand workers locked-out does put a slight dent in the bank, and UNITE-HERE local 2 needs some cash. So make a commitment, say to yourself: I am not going to eat anything but ham/turkey/peanut-butter/vegan alternative sandwiches for the next two weeks, and make a $50 donation to local 2 with the money that I’ll save. If I - one of the hundreds of UT employees working 40 hours a week for poverty wages and a lover of food other than ham/turkey/peanut-butter/vegan alternative sandwiches - can pony up some money...

These folks don't have jobs to return to at the present moment and all you have to do is eat a damn sandwich. So be another H-O-O molecule in the turning tide. And leave a comment when you give.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004 

T.O. hooks up with white woman*, Monday Night Football fans freak-out

After watching the Philadelphia Eagles stomp the Dallas Cowboys 49 to 21, white fans of ABCSports' Monday Night Football went to sleep with their shotguns next to their beds. The weekly sports presentation created quite an uproar when it opened with a sexually suggestive sequence featuring Eagles star wide-reciever Terrell Owens, a Black man, and a white woman* from ABC's hit show Desperate Housewives.

Jimmy John Holloway, a resident of MoreCowsThanPeopleville, Some Red State, USA, feared for his family's safety. "I made my daughters put on their chastity belts before we tucked them into bed - you just cannot be too safe with all those Black wide receivers running around out there." His neighbor, Buck - who refused to share his last name for fear of "those men in the black helicopters" - echoed Jimmy John's concerns. "We white folk need to get serious about protecting our women. There was a time when a man could turn on the TV and not have to see some white-women-loving Black man engaging in miscegenation. This needs to be taken care of faster than that Nat King Cole Variety Hour. We all need to call our Christian President and demand a return to those God-fearing, good ole days."

Rush Limbaugh reminded everyone that this is what happens when you integrate sports. "I knew those Eagles nigras were dangerous - and overrated! This is what happens when we let our country elect Bill Clinton and that bitch Hillary twice! I mean, I'll give that Timberlake boy some leeway, Black women are oversexed seductresses and I'm sure he couldn't help himself, but this taking advantage of white women business cannot be tolerated!" Rush added that although he thinks there are far too many darkies on TV, he does love watching Condaskeeza's shapely legs. "I look forward to her confirmation hearing, and Prime Minister Sharon and I sincerly hope that she will go for the knee-length-skirt look and not use podiums at any future press-conferences!"

Officially the Eagles have apologized, but Philadelphia Councilman and former mayor Frank Rizzo warned that if the uppitiness continues he is willing to endorse the use of a fire bomb on Lincoln Financial Field.

*Finally, not to discount Nicollete Sheridan acting abilities, or reduce her to just another blonde, size zero Hollywood actress - I just don't see her as the main draw for Desperate Housewives (like it is an accident that an actress whose character's house was burned down on like the second episode, which effectively removed her from the neighborhood where 90% of the show takes place, would be willing to do naked commercials for Monday Night Football)

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 

The Chican@ Question

Continuing earlier threads on the subject of Latino voting patterns, the People's Weekly World for last week included this (very good) article questioning the methodology of national exit polls with regards to Latino preferences.

In order to clearly highlight the difference between solid leftist analysis (see: above) and dog poo (keep reading), I think its appropriate to share my recent discovery that Chican@s are no longer important enought to be considered a nation. Chican@s everywhere must be relieved at finally being told what thier national status is once and for all. Also, if you have the time to waste plowing through that aforelinked land-fill (please refrain from making any inferences about what sort of time I may or may not have had when I came across this jewel on the *party's* website), and are in need of a laugh - please check out the *party's* paper "On the Position on Homosexuality in the New Draft Programme." Priceless.

Monday, November 15, 2004 

Article in USATODAY

Walking into work , I couldn't help but notice USA TODAY's front page story on domestic terrorism. Wondering if labor-unionists and supporters of Catholic Charities had been added to the justice department's list of domestic insurgents, I looked it up online.

Pretty intersting stuff, especially the part about "black and brown nationalists who envision a separate state for blacks and Latinos." Naturally there was no mention of any on-going prosecution against these "terrorists," any past convictions, or even a single incident of Black and Brown "terror." Actually, there was no mention of these groups beyond the 13-word snippet in the articles introduction. But then again, when a generalized fear of Black and Brown people is what you're going for, details are less than important.

Friday, November 12, 2004 

As if Proof Was Lacking...

The New York Times ran this story today. There possibly, maybe, might be some ever so tenuous connection between Bush supporters and support for segregation in Alabama. Someone needs to call the White House and make sure that they are aware of this startling news!

Thursday, November 11, 2004 

Ride Natty Ride

On this day in 1831, Nat Turner was hung in Jerusalem, Virginia. A minister to his people, Turner was one of the first in the long line of Black theologians who would and continue to demand that every woman and man recognize their own role in building paradise here on Earth. After having escaped to freedom, Turner proved himself a true prophet in the tradition of Moses and returned to Southampton Country, Virginia determined to set his people free by any means necessary. His insurrection began on August 21 and would result in the deaths of some 60 whites within 3 days. Following the revolt, Turner evaded capture until late October and expressed no remorse for this righteous deeds.

¡Nat Turner, presente!


For the Passing of Abu Ammar

Al-laa-hum-magh-fir li-hay-yi-naa wa may-yiti-naa wa shaa-hi-di-naa wa ghaa-i-bi-naa wa sa-ghee-ri-naa wa ka-bee-ri-naa wa zaka-ri-naa wa un-saa-naa, al-laa-hum-ma man ah- yay-ta-hoo min-naa fa-ah yi-hee `a-lal islaam, wa man ta-waf-fay-ta-hoo min-naa fa-ta-waf-fa-hoo `a-lal ee-maan.

Salatul Janazah, Third Takbir

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 

Word from the Census

So I wrote the Census Bureau (from my work email account) earlier this week to inquire about their methodology concerning Latinos. They're pretty speedy at the Census, and got back with me already. So here is my question:
I am writing to seek clarification on difference between the current
population estimates published in September of this year and the 2000
Census. Previously in the 2000 and 1990 Censuses tabulations of Hispanic
Origin/Latino included racial breakdowns. Using American FactFinder to
examine Summary File One I see that many people identified their race as
"Some other race alone." This is in fact one of the more popular options
(based upon 2000 Census data roughly 37.35 % of Latino respondents
nationally or 14,891,303 people). But upon examination of the current
population estimates (http://www.census.gov/popest/estimates.php) I
notice the the option has been removed. I was hoping that you could
please the removal of this category to me.

Also, I have notice that the number of people who identify as Latino or
Hispanic and then identify their race as white has sharply increased
from 16,907,852 (based on the figures provided by American FactFinder
2000 Census Summary File One) to 36,870,085 in the current population
estimates. This seems puzzling to me because the total number of Latino
or Hispanic persons in 2000 was only 35,305,818 in 2000 with the
population growth between 2000 and June 2003 being a solid 13 % -while
total white Latino population appears to have grown by 118.06 %. Is this
change related to the removal of the category mentioned above? If so,
what is the reasoning behind the shift? Thanks.

And the Census's response:
Mr. **********:

Thank you for your inquiry of the U.S. Census Bureau.

In response to your first question regarding the absence of the "Some Other
Race" category in our population estimates, the short answer is the Census
Bureau determined that the category did not function as intended in Census
2000. In fact, the vast majority of responses were given by people of
Hispanic origin who subsequently wrote in an answer to the race question
such as "Hispanic" or "Latino." Thus, we determined that the strategy that
would be most faithful to the intent of the question would be to
redistribute the population who responded "Some Other Race" among the other
possible answers to the question. For more details on this decision and
the strategy we used to redistribute the responses, please see the
following documents:


In response to your second question about the size of the population who
identified themselves as both white and Hispanic, the difference you see
between Census 2000 and the estimates is mainly due to the procedure of
redistributing the "Some Other Race" population to the other race
categories. For your reference, the popular tables in the estimates area
of the Census Bureau website give not only the estimates themselves but
also the base from which they were calculated (i.e., the revised Census
number). To see this for the national estimates, please refer to the
following URL:


I hope this has answered your questions. If you have further questions,
please feel free to let us know.

Matthew Christenson


Our Internationalist Duty

"Certainly, the fight to defeat the project of the United States will take many forms. [T]he rearmament of every country in the world in order to meet any aggression contemplated by Washington is imperative; never forget that the United States utilized nuclear weapons when it had a monopoly of them and renounced their use when it no longer had such a monopoly. "
-Samir Amin, The Liberal Virus: Permanent War and the Americanization of the World

Using their imperial surrogate the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), the European Union (good cop) and the Bush administration (bad cop) are bringing pressure to bear on Tehran for its purported clandestine nuclear weapons program. In what could very possibly signal the beginning of yet another, even more escalated, phase in the US ruling class's push towards war with Iran, US cronies in Germany, France and Brittan are demanding that the Iranian government release a statement declaring any and all of its nuclear enrichment activities ended and including the dates when such moratoriums went into effect. The stick comes in when the US
then demands that the security council take up the issue following the release of the IAEA's report. Everyone remembers UN Security Council Resolution 1441, right? Proving that despite suffering bourgeois restorations, formerly socialist countries can still cause the triad major head-aches, China (maybe even out of principle) and Russia (basically out of self-interest) appear to be willing to stand behind Iran's right to produce power (arm itself?) in any way it sees fit.

You can bet that this Iranian question will become all the more urgent for the Zionists in Washington
following Hezbollah's actions earlier this week. Can these drones can carry bombs? Like the Amin quote illustrates, one of the best ways for Iran not to end up like its neighbor to the west, the always wonderful example of what "humanitarian" intervention looks like, is to really have and be willing to use WMD. The same goes for the recently liberated territory in southern Lebanon, and we need to remind all the peacenik liberals we come across, in the nicest terms possible of course, that non-violence is a luxury that the people of south-west Asia lack at the current historical juncture.

Finally this shit with Abu Ammar is really getting me down. I just needed to put that out there.

Monday, November 08, 2004 

If race doesn't matter, why does the right work so hard to make it matter less?

In my last post, I shared my belief that what we saw this Tuesday was a long-term strategy of the US right-wing coming to fruition. This “southern strategy” is dependent upon the right’s ability to mobilize white southerners through race pandering and appeals to their reactionary Christianity. This time around the members of the right’s strategic alliance were considered safe bets for Bush and Co. Preliminary returns confirm that these segments of the population were all solidly behind Bush: the South (58%), white men (62%), the rural voters (57%), and Protestants who attend Church weekly (70%).

On the flip side, people of color have long been considered a reliable base of the Democratic Party. The question of whether Kerry took these voters for granted or not aside, non-white folks certainly voted for Kerry (67% of men, 75% of women). The Black electorate led the way in this regard, with a whopping 88% going to Kerry nationally, with even higher percentages in the South (90%). However, these generalizations run into major problems when we look at the Latino vote. In response to a post by John Lacny which asked what is to be done about all these stupid white folks, Dennis O’Neil commented that we must wait and see who’s next to be reclassified as “white”. Additionally, Dennis shared an insight offered to him by Elly Leary that she thinks “non-Indio Latinos seem to be being offered the next pass in whiteness.” Not only does her analysis hit the nail squarely on its head, I think that this trend has been a long time coming.

The past methodology used by the US Census Bureau (in which people self-identify) hints at a way this shift in the comparative whiteness of Latinos may (has been) happen(ing). A little bit of history on this one. The first mention of Latinos in the US can be found in the foreign born tables (where states of origin would have identified where these "immigrants" came from). However, these numbers only counted "white persons" from any given country. Starting in the 1950 Census, Spanish Origin/Surname was used in some of the more detailed tables and Special Reports but figures for "white persons from X" are still the only ones available. Starting in 1960 the "white persons" is dropped from the general tables, but the wording of its replacement, "persons of foreign stock reporting X as country of origin," does not exactly strike me as poetic.

As many know, even the most current 2000 Census did not include “Hispanic or Latino” in its list of racial distinctions; instead it is treated as an ethnic identity. So first they ask if you are “Hispanic or Latino”, then follow up by asking you to identify your race. In the 2000 Census 37,659,799 people identified as "Hispanic or Latino." Half of these respondents (nearly 19mil) then identified as "White alone or in combination with one or more other races." Don't let the "or in combination..." get you, because this same question is asked with the other 5 race categories substituted for white as well. The Census even discounts this wording, omitting it completely from several tables. Regionally this breakdown gets even more interesting. The Census breaks the country down into NE, MW, S, and W regions, and in those regions with mostly “red states” (S then MW) you find more people who identify as "white or some..." rather than "some other race..."

However, on the state by state level its evens out. Here’s breakdown combining exit poll data for many “red states” (from CNN.com) with figures from the 2000 Census:


% Population that is Latino

% Latinos Who Voted For Bush

% Latinos Who Identify as White

% Latinos Who Identify as Other


25.25 %

43 %

46.26 %

45.59 %


17.10 %

30 %

48.55 %

41.38 %


16.79 %

56 %

74.79 %

16.70 %


5.32 %

56 %

45.64 %

42.51 %


19.72 %

39 %

50.48 %

39.74 %


5.20 %

74 %

40.19 %

44.94 %


31.99 %

59 %

57.97 %

36.25 %

New Mexico

42.08 %

44 %

52.36 %

40.09 %


12.55 %

44 %

50.12 %

37.35 %

When I first started writing this post I expected to see a sharp jump in the percentage of “Hispanic or Latino” and “White or some combination…” While this hypothesis does hold in states where there are big discrepancies between those who identify as white and those who identify as “other” (see: Texas and Florida), more generally these figures show many Latinos, regardless of state, already see themselves as white, and historically self-categorization has been step one in the “whitening process”.

This becomes all the more alarming when current population projections are brought into frame. The Census is done every 10 years; but estimates are made during the interim period, with major work going into the midpoint projections. When looking at the current population estimates available on the Census.gov I couldn't help but notice, what was to me, a striking absence in the Race and Hispanic Origin tables. The ability to self identify as "Other" had been removed from all "Hispanic or Latino" tabulations. It is not as if the Census lacks these figures, they collected and presented data for the 2000 year; instead, these projections automatically identify Latinos and persons of Hispanic Origin as white unless some other racial category (Black, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American) mitigates against their whiteness. This is nothing less than a complete break with previous methods of American coloring. Instead of people having to prove themselves white (the one drop rule), here we are seeing people being forced to prove that they are not white.

Sticking with the states above, it is clear how this shift plays out. In only 3 years Arizona's "Hispanic or Latino" population ballooned from 46.26% white to 94.78% white. This same pattern holds true for the other "red states" examined above: 93.35% in Colorado, 94% in Florida, 91.47% in Georgia, 93.93% in Nevada, 89.53% in Oklahoma, 96.87% in New Mexico and 96.87% in Texas. Even in California, the heart of the Chicano power movement, the percentage of "white" Latinos is now at 94.13%.

While these changes are currently imposed by the Census Bureau, I think these trends will hold even once people are able to self-identify, which will (hopefully) happen with the 2010 Census. As with polling, questions that force people to choose between options that they feel have pre-assigned value judgments attached to them (Are you going to vote) are fundamentally flawed questions. In a racist, one-generation post-apartheid society what is more value-laden than race? In the absence of the safe "Other" or wording that more positively reflects the heritage of many Latinos (mestizo, Afro-Caribbean, etc) it shouldn't come as a surprise that folks would be less than willing to give up this newly endowed whiteness, even if it is a whiteness not enjoyed in one's day to day life (yet).

My facts and figures come from American FactFinder, the Historical Census Browser, Population Information in the Twentieth Century (General Tables Index) and Demographic Trends in the Twentieth Century (pages 71-111, especially pages 78, 86-7, 96-8) both put out by the Census Bureau (Demographic Trends in the Twentieth Century actually replaced Population Information in the Twentieth Century).

Thursday, November 04, 2004 


Yesterday morning I woke up feeling a surreal sort of déjà vu. When I turned on my TV and stepped into the morning after, it was as if I had woke up the morning after Hitler was named Chancellor of the Weimar Republic. I am not trying to be overly dramatic here, let me be clear on that point. True the contradictions, both objectively and in the subjective minds of the American popular classes, are not nearly as sharp as they were in Germany, 1933. Obviously, the current power and influence enjoyed by the anti-capitalist left in this country pales in comparison to our eminence of the early 20th century, in that country or in this one. And yeah, John Kerry wasn’t some bright and shining start. But it is essential that the left not kid itself any further, what we saw on Tuesday was as serious and ought to be as frightening as any and every victory enjoyed by the Nazi party between 1932 and 1933.

This year we saw more people go to the polls than at any other point in the history of this “low-intensity democracy.” Not only did this more reactionary segment of the ruling class come out on top, it did so with an across the board endorsement. These gangsters energized millions of ordinary people to turn out and vote for them. Their mandate stretches into the Congress as well, which further consolidates this clique’s dictatorship. So, despite the fuzzy ways in which leftists employ the word “fascist,” there is no denying that we have entered an age of extreme right-wing populism in this country and I know of no other name for that than fascism.

To quote an elder comrade out of context, nothing can stop the course of history. This week provides yet another example of of one of the American right’s best employed, long term lines of attack coming to furition. The past 40 years have certainly bore witness to the ever increasing influence of Nixon’s southern strategy, and in this context many are pointing out that the question of the color line is clearly still at the heart of the matter. On this point, I couldn’t agree more. This southern strategy is predicated upon the right’s ability to mobilize poor whites through a mixture of fundamentalist Christianity, white supremacist populism and fear which is so central to both of these ideologies. Based upon preliminary reports of voter turnout, it’s pretty safe to say that the Religious Right, perhaps the most odious manifestation of this “strategic alliance,” did not disappoint in any way, shape or form this time around. We should expect for this base to be well taken care of.

Pundits have also been quick to point out that if current trends in population growth hold (and there is ample evidence to suggest that they will), the right’s vice grip on the American electoral system will only tighten. This emphasis on the South and race surely comes as no surprise to many of us who have long pushed for a boarder focus by left forces on the South and Southwest. At this point our perspective is critically important. We know that for our movements to be successful the region that gave rise to this next wave of capitalist dictatorship must also provide the seeds for its destruction. The ever growing concentration of people of color in the South only highlights this possibility, and in doing so, shows the correctness of our southern focus as the center piece in any strategy for progressives during this period.

We must remember and remind others that “the people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.” The course of history cannot simply be changed or stopped; any livable future is dependent upon our ability to help lead and create struggle that empowers ordinary people in every red state from Virginia to Texas. This loss hurts; the deep wounds my youthful optimism is trying to nurse are testament to this. But we all know that this is not a time for mourning, now is a time for boldness. This committment will aid our movements in using this set back as a launch-pad, an oppertunity that must not be wasted in these next few months. This war, now more then ever, will not become the “left’s” war too. This regime’s blunders in Iraq will only continue and the situation there will worsen. The coming collapse of the dollar will be sped-up by the insane and irresponsible conduct of the neo-cons. As fighters with vision that transcends the confines of capitalist possibilities, it is our job to show the very politicized masses that “we must thoroughly clear away all ideas of winning easy victories through good luck, without hard and bitter struggle, without sweat and blood.”

Wednesday, November 03, 2004 

"Where everyone fights themselves..."

Bye-bye 21 year-old optimism. Welcome to the Apocalypse.

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