I was watching the latest installment of "Jesse Jackson Circle
Fox News Network. The round table "discussion" would have been
fascinating if it hadn't been just so damned stupid. I mean, here I'm
watching the "All Hate Bill Clinton, All The Time" network, and they
weren't making up crap about Clinton. The hatred was there, the slobber
and drool was there, the innuendo and lack of facts and information were
there, but they weren't talking about Clinton. Something was up here and
I decided I had to write something about what's going on with Jesse Jackson.
The more I thought about it, though, the more involved it seemed to get.
Be patient; I'll get to Jesse Jackson, but I want to talk about the
The 60's scared the hell out of the people who were running this place and in
my mind has everything to do with much of what is happening today in this country.
It was the first time in this country's history that ordinary Joes and
Janes openly questioned what they saw going on in the world. People were
waking up and realizing that their enemy wasn't who the government said
it was. The enemy wasn't yellow skinned people on the other side of the
world. The enemy was the powers-that-be in our own country. And people
decided to do something about it.
Protests, demonstrations, sit-ins along with random violence committed
by some of the more radical elements among the youth of this country
were the order of the day. Popular music may never again see the energy
and involvement of that time. It seemed to be coming from all directions-from
the peaceful civil disobedience to the violent end of the spectrum, all kinds of
people were sensing something in the air and getting involved.
The civil rights movement was the other big defining struggle in the
60's. It had gone on for more than a century, but finally came to a head
in the early 60's. John Kennedy had been visibly sympathetic and
supportive, but had been assassinated before legislation was signed.
That was left to Lyndon Johnson.
People of all ages and colors got involved: there were the protest marches,
Freedom Riders, etc. I won't try to explain the Civil Rights movement in detail:
there are many places on the internet and other places that do a much better job
of chronicling the whole subject than I ever could.
The domestic resistance to the War and the accomplishments of the Civil
Rights movement were made possible by the same phenomenon: television.
These two movements and the popular uprisings that resulted were aided
and abetted by extensive television coverage. The youth of the 60's was
the first group to have grown up with television as a part of their
daily lives. For the first time, battles being fought halfway around the
world were broadcast into millions of homes in the United States as they
happened. Place names and military terminology became part of the
popular consciousness. People knew the names of places like
Hanoi,Haiphong, Mekong Delta, Hi Chi Minh Trail, Plain of Jars and
military terms like deployment and escalation.
The Civil Rights coverage brought us images of African-Americans
marching, having fire hoses and police dogs set on them, speeches by
local and national leaders. Television cameras were there and captured
all these and many other types of scenes. I was only 12 years old in
1968, but clearly remember that between coverage of the war, the
protests against the war, and the Civil Rights movement, television was
gloomy and depressing on a daily basis.
The pressure to end the war and the passing of Civil Rights legislation
massive blows to the people running the show, especially the far-right political
wing, that wants things just so. There were people who swore that the likes
of the 60's would never happen again in this country.
To these people, the perfect condition for the citizens in this country
would resemble a scene from the Simpsons: people chanting in unison
"The Leader is good, the Leader is great,
We surrender our wills as of this date."
These people had learned their lessons by the left wing's successes.
They realized that they had been defeated in the media, the courts and
by legislation. So, these institutions had to be managed to their advantage,
and their domestic enemies dealt with using their own methods.
Anyone who has paid attention has noticed a drastic change in the
discourse on the airwaves. Most people aren't aware that the airwaves
actually, at least in theory, belong to the people. But you would never
know to watch the "news" programs, Sunday morning pundits, cable
stations, or to listen to talk radio.
In about 1987, the Reagan administration did away with the Fairness
Doctrine. Contrary to the right-wing's claims, the Fairness Doctrine did
not violate broadcaster's 1st Amendment rights. To put it extremely
simply, it merely said that if a station had a show that promoted an
agenda, there would need to be another show that represented its
opposition. It did not say that there could not be a Rush Limbaugh, only
that there would need to be a Molly Ivins also. I may not be technically
correct, but that was the gist of the idea.
The right wing had to get rid of that, because conservative ideas in
general can't stand against a competent liberal rebuttal. It was time to
bring in the Big Lie, and the idea that people will believe a huge lie
more quickly than a small one, especially if it is repeated and not rebutted.
The courts were covered by the elections of Reagan, Bush, and the people
of the Gingrich Revolution. The result is that Republicans have placed
most of the "justices" on the Supreme Court and the Federal judiciary.
And it is common knowledge that most of Bill Clinton's judicial nominees
were held up waiting for a conservative President to place his own nominees.
All these moves resulted in some of the more egregious situations we've
found ourselves in. Oliver North was actually found guilty of Iran-Contra
offenses and was vindicated by a conservative appellate. Clinton (especially)
and other Democrats have been hounded unmercifully using the courts.
Telecommunications have been deregulated, allowing less and less corporations
to own more and more of the media. Part of this was eliminating the restrictions
on how many TV, radio stations and newspapers could be owned in one market
by one entity. And on, and on, and on.
Which (finally) brings me to Jesse Jackson. I won't go into any deep
detail about what his life has been about. I will refer you to the
transcript of Frontline's The Pilgrimage of Jesse Jackson at
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/jesse/. It contains interviews
with people who have known and worked with Jesse Jackson for decades and
factual information about life and causes. I will leave it to you to
form your own opinion of the man (if you haven't already).
Whatever one may think of Jesse, he has been effective over the course
of many years. He has been a nightmare for conservatives since the Civil
Rights movement (he marched and worked with Martin Luther King, Jr.). He
won the release of U.S. pilot Robert Goodman from Syria in 1983, when
Reagan's diplomatic efforts went nowhere. In September of 1991 he won
the release of hundreds of foreign nationals being held in Kuwait by
Saddam Hussein after efforts by the first Bush White House failed. When
these results were broadcast, he seriously helped expose the diplomatic
ineffectiveness of the Reagan and Bush administrations.
In this diplomatic, articulate and dynamic effectiveness, he starts
draw parallels with Bill Clinton. And that is why he draws the same raw
meat, wild-eyed, bring-this-guy-down-at-any cost, non-stop attention on
the "news", "commentary" and "talk" shows.
The ditto-monkeys among us are using their dominance of the media and
the courts to harass Jesse. He is the target of investigations again
(his Rainbow/PUSH operations were audited at least twice in the
Reagan-Bush administrations; no wrong-doing was found).
Three or four weeks ago I was watching Geraldo, and the guests were
Sharpton, Peter Flaherty of the National Legal and Policy Center, and
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal. The broadcast followed the typical
right-wing script: the conservatives made faces and screamed while Al
Sharpton politely listened and waited for them to finish(!). When
Sharpton spoke, the others fell all over themselves talking over him the
entire time and not allowing him to finish a sentence. I came in a few
minutes into the broadcast and had to piece together what was happening,
but it seems that Flaherty's organization is launching another
investigation into the financing of Jackson's charities, stemming from
charges that he illegally paid his mistress from their funds.
These charges are the direct result of the revelation that Jesse had
the affair that was exposed in the midst of the vote recount in Florida.
Jackson had sworn that he would keep up the heat until the results were
determined. And the real winner of our last election is the last thing
certain conservatives want released. I have a hard time believing that
the timing of the news of his affair, in the middle of the recounting,
was a coincidence. Jackson, like Clinton, was being too effective,
"agitating" blacks to be outspoken and disobedient about their treatment
at the polls. So, like Clinton, he had to be neutralized. And like
Clinton, a sex scandal was the way they found to do it. (This was also
one way J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI tried to deal with Martin Luther
King in the 60's. They mailed tape recordings of King and a mistress to
him anonymously, with the suggestion that the way out was for him to
commit suicide before his wife found out).
By the way, since the Geraldo broadcast, the Illinois attorney general
has concluded an audit of Rainbow/PUSH. No irregularities were found.
Not only did everything look to be above board, the attorney general
wants to give Jackson an additional $300,000.00 grant. The whole story
was in the Chicago Sun-Times edition of March 28.
Clinton is too effective at what he does, and so is Jesse Jackson, so
they both must be neutralized, using the media and the legal system, by
any means and at all costs. They represent two battles from the 60's
that were lost through ordinary citizens getting involved. Anyone who
doubts that cultural conservatives are still fighting the battles of the
60's needs only to remember the harsh rhetoric of Pat Robertson and Pat
Buchanan at the 1992 Republican Convention. Consider this when you hear
the term "culture war" and remember all the attacks on Clinton as a "pot
smoking, draft-dodging" so and so. There are people still hung up on that.
So we have Bill Clinton, the first President from the 60's generation,
reminding them of the War in Vietnam, and Jesse Jackson reminding them
of the Civil Rights movement. These two men are dangerous to the people
who want us to go back to unquestioning obedience of the government, and
so they must be done away with, by any means necessary. They control the
means, and all anyone who needs proof only has to do is turn on turn on
cable TV any tine of day or night, listen to talk radio, or read most newspapers..
Jackson's charities get attorney general's OK
March 28, 2001
BY CHUCK NEUBAUER AND TIM NOVAK STAFF REPORTERS
Illinois Attorney General Jim Ryan, whose office regulates charities, says
reviewed the financial reports from the Rev. Jesse Jackson's charities and has found
no irregularities. In fact, Ryan wants to give them $300,000 in grants.
But Jackson said Tuesday he isn't sure he will take the money--earmarked
teaching women computer skills and educating female prisoners about AIDS.
"Given the controversy surrounding this, Operation PUSH is considering
accepting the grants that we never asked for in the first place," Jackson said.
The money Ryan wants to give Jackson comes from a women's shoe company
settled a nationwide price fixing suit last year. Since the money doesn't come from
taxpayers, Ryan is free to spend it without approval from legislators.
Besides PUSH's grants, Ryan plans to split $1 million among other agencies,
including a Hispanic group, an immigrant aid group and women's shelters.
If Rainbow/PUSH accepts the grants, Jackson's charities will have received
than $1.2 million from the state under four separate deals between Jackson, a liberal
Democrat, and two conservative Republicans, Gov. Ryan and Jim Ryan. The Ryans
are not related.
Jim Ryan said he has no plans to investigate Jackson's charities, but he
did order his
staff to review the basic financial records Jackson's charities file each year with the
attorney general's Charitable Trust Bureau. The review did not include interviews
with Jackson or his staff.
Ryan asked for the exam after Jackson acknowledged his charities paid $35,000
a former top staff member who bore him a child. Jackson has defended the
payments, saying they were for consulting and moving expenses.
"The evidence is they are in compliance with the law," Ryan said of the review.
"There isn't anything in those filings that jumps out at anyone as inappropriate,"
said. "Can we launch an investigation? We can, but you don't do so unless there is
evidence. There's no basis for me to launch an investigation into PUSH.
"There has to be some justification for it. I don't launch investigations
speculation. We're not going to treat this organization any differently than any others."
While Ryan is giving money to charities he regulates and could shut down,
this would never keep him from investigating a charity.
"If I ever think there's a conflict of interest, I'll be the first one
to recuse myself.
There's no conflict of interest here," Ryan said.
Ryan said Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition has yet to get the $300,000
it hasn't submitted a required plan to show how it will spend the money--$200,000
to teach black women computer skills and $100,000 to educate women at Cook
County Jail about AIDS.
"We offered this to PUSH," Ryan said. "We said we would do this if they
guidelines. We're not going to release any money until they sign off on the
parameters and they agree to the rules."
Ryan said he was "surprised" PUSH officials missed the Feb. 2 deadline
to give him
a budget and plan, but he still hopes to give them the money.
Janice Mathis, attorney for Rainbow/PUSH, said the organization is evaluating
whether to accept the grant money because it "won't cover everything that's needed
. . . to do a very fine job."
Illinois got $1.3 million last year when Nine West, a women's shoe company
to pay $34 million to settle a price fixing suit brought by the 50 states. A federal
judge ordered each state to spend its share of the settlement on education, health,
safety or vocation programs for women.
"I wanted some of the money to go to African-American citizens, and I felt
Rainbow/PUSH was probably the most prominent African-American organization in
the city of Chicago," Ryan said. "I knew their charities were in good standing, so I
thought it was an appropriate agency to get the money. I felt they spoke for a lot of
African Americans in the city of Chicago."
"I wanted some to go to Hispanics, some to go to African Americans and
go to other groups--immigrants," Ryan said.
Ryan decided to spend $600,000 to "close the digital divide" that has left
women with fewer computer skills, hurting their job prospects. To set up computer
training programs, Ryan gave $200,000 each to PUSH; the National Council of La
Raza, a Hispanic group, and the Heartland Alliance for Human Needs, formerly
called the Travelers Aid Society. The rest of the money goes to AIDS awareness,
shelters, violence prevention programs and breast cancer education.
Ryan scoffed at a suggestion he was trying to curry favor with these groups.
has nothing to do with politics; this has to do with good government," he said.
"Politics is not going to enter into the legal judgments I make here."
Jim Ryan and Gov. Ryan have been reaching out to minority communities that
traditionally vote Democratic. If Gov. Ryan decides not to seek another term next
year, Jim Ryan is the leading Republican to replace him.
During the past year, Gov. Ryan gave Jackson's groups a $760,000 contract
enroll families in KidCare, a low-income health insurance program, and $200,000 to
study economic development opportunities in minority neighborhoods.
Jackson's charities are getting state money while he warns churches they
their moral authority to criticize the federal government if they accept President
Bush's offer to fund faith-based programs.