Category Archives: U.S Attorney General

Lautenberg Highlights Additional News Corp. Hacking Allegation in the U.S. as DOJ Review Begins

Lautenberg Flagged News Corp. Hacking Allegations with Federal Authorities in 2005

WASHINGTON—As the Justice Department reviews claims that News Corp. hacked into the phone records or voicemails of American 9/11 victims, U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) today wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director Robert Mueller to highlight a 2005 hacking allegation in the United States that was made against a News Corp. marketing company called News America Marketing.

Lautenberg originally wrote a letter in 2005 bringing this case to the attention of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales after a small New Jersey marketing company called FLOORgraphics alleged that News America Marketing engaged in illegal computer espionage by breaking into password protected computer systems and obtaining confidential information.

“As the Department of Justice and FBI examine the recent hacking allegations involving News Corp. and its subsidiaries more closely, I wanted to make sure that you were fully aware of the case of FLOORgraphics and News America, as it may be relevant to your current investigation,” Lautenberg wrote.

A copy of today’s letter can be found here

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Filed under Eric Holder, FBI, News Corp., phone hacking, press release, Rupert Murdoch, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, U.S Attorney General

Quote of The Day: "…He obviously was not only thinking of running for governor, he was seeking input…"

“This to me puts to bed the claim that he did not think about running for governor until he left the U.S. Attorney’s Office and had done a lot of soul searching before he made his decision…He obviously was not only thinking of running for governor, he was seeking input from the White House deputy chief of staff, George Bush’s chief strategist.”

Lt. Governor Candidate Lorretta Weinberg reacting to the news that Republican candidate for governor Chris Christie, had conversations with White House deputy chief of staff, Karl Rove about running for governor of NJ while still acting as U.S. Attorney.

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Filed under Chris Christie, George Bush, Gov. Jon Corzine, Karl Rove, Lorretta Weinberg, New Jersey, U.S Attorney General

Was Christie A Pay-to-Play "Pioneer"

The latest Corzine ’09 campaign ad that was released today clarifies the connections between Chris Christie and his “Pioneer” status for his massive political contributions to George Bush, and his subsequently being named as U.S. Attorney—a classic example of pay to play. Once he purchased his office, Christie brazenly awarded his political allies and fellow Bush cronies millions in no bid contracts.

Here are the Facts:
Chris Christie was a George W. Bush Pioneer and helped raise over $350,000 for Bush. Gannett News Service, in 2003, asked, “What motivates a ranger or pioneer?” One of their answers was, “there’s political patronage as well. Three of Bush’s 21 New Jersey pioneers in 2000 won presidential appointments. Former Republican congressman William Martini was named a federal judge, Internet communications executive Clifford Sobel was named ambassador to the Netherlands, and former Morris County Freeholder Christopher Christie was named New Jersey’s top federal prosecutor.” The Star Ledger, in 2004, also indentified Christie as a Bush Pioneer. According to the New York Times, “He became counsel to the Bush campaign in New Jersey in 2000, while joining Mr. Palatucci to raise more than $350,000.” The Washington Post and Bergen Record have also reported that Christie helped raise $350,000 for George W. Bush [Gannett News Service, 11/7/03; Star Ledger, 11/19/04;New York Times, 7/21/04; Washington Post, 11/27/02; Asbury Park Press, Bergen Record, 10/10/02]

Chris Christie was named U.S. Attorney in return for his Bush fundraising. A Star Ledger editorial, in 2001, decried Christie’s appointment to U.S. Attorney and stated, “What Christie brings to the table is excellent political connections. He has energetically raised money for various candidates, including George W. Bush in 2000, and his mentor and law partner is William Palatucci, a friend of the President and a powerful figure in the state GOP… It is common for U.S. attorneys to have political ties, but Christie’s party links are closer than most. This is a patronage appointment, plain and simple. This is a distinguished position, one of the most important jobs in the state. It should not become a political plum.” The New York times reported that “after the Bush victory, Mr. [Bill] Palatucci sent Mr. Christie’s resume to Karl Rove, the president’s chief strategist. Mr. Bush, who dubbed Mr. Christie ”Big Boy” (an apparent reference to his hulking frame), chose him for United States attorney.” [Star Ledger, 9/7/01; New York Times, 7/21/04]

Christie went soft on crime by refusing to indict companies that ripped off the American public. Chris Christie decided not to indict several companies; instead, he gave them deferred prosecutions agreements. As the Gloucester County Times noted, these “agreements basically let potential corporate criminals go free in exchange for paying millions to have ‘monitors’ oversee their affected operations.” In an editorial titled “Going Soft on Corporate Crime,” the New York Times described deferred prosecution agreements as “cozy deals” and wrote, “Federal prosecutors have been regularly offering settlements to companies for wrongdoing that, in previous administrations, would likely have led to criminal charges. It is another disturbing example of how [the Bush] administration has taken the justice out of the Justice Department…. The cost [of deferred prosecution agreements] to the public and the rule of law is too high. If corporations believe that they can negotiate their way out of a prosecution, the deterrent effect of the criminal law will inevitably be weakened.” [Gloucester County Times, 6/27/09; Associated Press, 6/24/09; New York Times, 4/10/08]

Chris Christie awarded Bush cronies millions in no-bid contracts. “When the top federal prosecutor in New Jersey needed to find an outside lawyer to monitor a large corporation willing to settle criminal charges out of court last fall, he turned to former Attorney General John Ashcroft, his onetime boss. With no public notice and no bidding, the company awarded Mr. Ashcroft an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million…. The New Jersey prosecutor, United States Attorney Christopher J. Christie, directed similar monitoring contracts last year to two other former Justice Department colleagues from the Bush administration, as well as to a former Republican state attorney general in New Jersey.” [New York Times, 1/10/08]

Chris Christie is pushing for the same Bush economic policies that wrecked our economy. Chris Christie’s proposed economic policies include Bush re-treads such as tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and opposition to government regulations that protect the public. Christie has pledged to cut income taxes for the “very top of the wage scale.” Christie has also said “it will be a priority for the Christie administration to reduce corporate business tax rates.” While Christie has been vague on specifics, he has consistently voiced broad opposition to government regulations and has said he will “rollback,” “rescind” and “freeze” New Jersey regulations. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance regulations include “consumer protections through the regulation of 16 types of businesses that provide a variety of consumer financial services.” The Department regulates “state-chartered credit unions through on-site examinations and report filings to ensure safety and soundness, as well as compliance with applicable state and federal laws.” [Fox News, Neil Cavuto, 5/4/09; 55 Way Chris Christie Will Fix New Jersey, http://www.votesmart.org/speech_detail.php?sc_id=459712&keyword=&phrase=&contain=; Gannet News, 5/16/09; 88 Ways Chris Christie Will Fix New Jersey, New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, http://www.state.nj.us/dobi/division_banking/index.htm

Christie is recklessly calling for tax cuts without a plan to pay for them – just like Bush. The Philadelphia Inquirer opined, “Christie, incredibly, says if elected he will cut income taxes and corporate taxes across the board. Sound good? You bet it does. But as this governor’s race progresses, Christie will need to fill in a few gaps of his own. He stands to inherit the same conditions that have been battering New Jersey’s economy for the past two years. For example, how would Christie balance the state budget while lowering revenue further through tax cuts? Corzine will have cut the budget in absolute dollars two years in a row. That’s unprecedented in any state, and especially in New Jersey. Tax cuts would require even deeper budget reductions by Christie. That’s not to say it can’t be done, but Christie was deliberately vague during the Republican primary campaign about how he intends to achieve even bigger savings in Trenton…. coasting time is over for Christie. Now, he must tell voters with specificity how he would tackle the same long-term problems more effectively.” [Philadelphia Inquirer 6/7/09]

The number of unemployed Americans has increased by more than 7 million since the recession began. According to the U.S Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 7.2 million.” [Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit

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Filed under Chris Christie, Corzine'09, John Ashcroft, New Jersey, no-bid contracts, pay-to-play, President Bush, U.S Attorney General

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice African American History Month Program

The following is the text of the speech that was delivered by Attornry General Eric Holder at the Justice Department on Wednesday February 18th, in honour of Black History Month. It sparked the right wing rants of Rush Limbaugh and others.

Read it and decide for yourself whether or not you are offened by it:  
Every year, in February, we attempt to recognize and to appreciate black history. It is a worthwhile endeavor for the contributions of African Americans to this great nation are numerous and significant. Even as we fight a war against terrorism, deal with the reality of electing an African American as our President for the first time and deal with the other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past, and our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country, endures. One cannot truly understand America without understanding the historical experience of black people in this nation. Simply put, to get to the heart of this country one must examine its racial soul.

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must – and will – lead the nation to the “new birth of freedom” so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation.

We commemorated five years ago, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. And though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race. And so I would suggest that we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races. This is admittedly an artificial device to generate discussion that should come more naturally, but our history is such that we must find ways to force ourselves to confront that which we have become expert at avoiding.

As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by “American instinct” and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated.

As a nation we should use Black History month as a means to deal with this continuing problem. By creating what will admittedly be, at first, artificial opportunities to engage one another we can hasten the day when the dream of individual, character based, acceptance can actually be realized. To respect one another we must have a basic understanding of one another. And so we should use events such as this to not only learn more about the facts of black history but also to learn more about each other. This will be, at first, a process that is both awkward and painful but the rewards are potentially great. The alternative is to allow to continue the polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction but that accomplishes little. Imagine if you will situations where people- regardless of their skin color- could confront racial issues freely and without fear. The potential of this country, that is becoming increasingly diverse, would be greatly enhanced. I fear however, that we are taking steps that, rather than advancing us as a nation are actually dividing us even further. We still speak too much of “them” and not “us”. There can, for instance, be very legitimate debate about the question of affirmative action. This debate can, and should, be nuanced, principled and spirited. But the conversation that we now engage in as a nation on this and other racial subjects is too often simplistic and left to those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest. Our history has demonstrated that the vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with, and would like to not have to deal with, racial matters and that is why those, black or white, elected or self-appointed, who promise relief in easy, quick solutions, no matter how divisive, are embraced. We are then free to retreat to our race protected cocoons where much is comfortable and where progress is not really made. If we allow this attitude to persist in the face of the most significant demographic changes that this nation has ever confronted- and remember, there will be no majority race in America in about fifty years- the coming diversity that could be such a powerful, positive force will, instead, become a reason for stagnation and polarization. We cannot allow this to happen and one way to prevent such an unwelcome outcome is to engage one another more routinely- and to do so now.

As I indicated before, the artificial device that is Black History month is a perfect vehicle for the beginnings of such a dialogue. And so I urge all of you to use the opportunity of this month to talk with your friends and co-workers on the other side of the divide about racial matters. In this way we can hasten the day when we truly become one America.

It is also clear that if we are to better understand one another the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other. It is for this reason that the study of black history is important to everyone- black or white. For example, the history of the United States in the nineteenth century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants. The great debates of that era and the war that was ultimately fought are all centered around the issue of, initially, slavery and then the reconstruction of the vanquished region. A dominant domestic issue throughout the twentieth century was, again, America’s treatment of its black citizens. The civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s changed America in truly fundamental ways. Americans of all colors were forced to examine basic beliefs and long held views. Even so, most people, who are not conversant with history, still do not really comprehend the way in which that movement transformed America. In racial terms the country that existed before the civil rights struggle is almost unrecognizable to us today. Separate public facilities, separate entrances, poll taxes, legal discrimination, forced labor, in essence an American apartheid, all were part of an America that the movement destroyed. To attend her state’s taxpayer supported college in 1963 my late sister in law had to be escorted to class by United States Marshals and past the state’s governor, George Wallace. That frightening reality seems almost unthinkable to us now. The civil rights movement made America, if not perfect, better.

In addition, the other major social movements of the latter half of the twentieth century- feminism, the nation’s treatment of other minority groups, even the anti-war effort- were all tied in some way to the spirit that was set free by the quest for African American equality. Those other movements may have occurred in the absence of the civil rights struggle but the fight for black equality came first and helped to shape the way in which other groups of people came to think of themselves and to raise their desire for equal treatment. Further, many of the tactics that were used by these other groups were developed in the civil rights movement.

And today the link between the black experience and this country is still evident. While the problems that continue to afflict the black community may be more severe, they are an indication of where the rest of the nation may be if corrective measures are not taken. Our inner cities are still too conversant with crime but the level of fear generated by that crime, now found in once quiet, and now electronically padlocked suburbs is alarming and further demonstrates that our past, present and future are linked. It is not safe for this nation to assume that the unaddressed social problems in the poorest parts of our country can be isolated and will not ultimately affect the larger society.

Black history is extremely important because it is American history. Given this, it is in some ways sad that there is a need for a black history month. Though we are all enlarged by our study and knowledge of the roles played by blacks in American history, and though there is a crying need for all of us to know and acknowledge the contributions of black America, a black history month is a testament to the problem that has afflicted blacks throughout our stay in this country. Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment by our society in general and by our educational institutions in particular. As a former American history major I am struck by the fact that such a major part of our national story has been divorced from the whole. In law, culture, science, athletics, industry and other fields, knowledge of the roles played by blacks is critical to an understanding of the American experiment. For too long we have been too willing to segregate the study of black history. There is clearly a need at present for a device that focuses the attention of the country on the study of the history of its black citizens. But we must endeavor to integrate black history into our culture and into our curriculums in ways in which it has never occurred before so that the study of black history, and a recognition of the contributions of black Americans, become commonplace. Until that time, Black History Month must remain an important, vital concept. But we have to recognize that until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so called “real” American history.

I, like many in my generation, have been fortunate in my life and have had a great number of wonderful opportunities. Some may consider me to be a part of black history. But we do a great disservice to the concept of black history recognition if we fail to understand that any success that I have had, cannot be viewed in isolation. I stood, and stand, on the shoulders of many other black Americans. Admittedly, the identities of some of these people, through the passage of time, have become lost to us- the men, and women, who labored long in fields, who were later legally and systemically discriminated against, who were lynched by the hundreds in the century just past and those others who have been too long denied the fruits of our great American culture. The names of too many of these people, these heroes and heroines, are lost to us. But the names of others of these people should strike a resonant chord in the historical ear of all in our nation: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Charles Drew, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Vivian Malone, Rosa Parks, Marion Anderson, Emmit Till. These are just some of the people who should be generally recognized and are just some of the people to whom all of us, black and white, owe such a debt of gratitude. It is on their broad shoulders that I stand as I hope that others will some day stand on my more narrow ones.

Black history is a subject worthy of study by all our nation’s people. Blacks have played a unique, productive role in the development of America. Perhaps the greatest strength of the United States is the diversity of its people and to truly understand this country one must have knowledge of its constituent parts. But an unstudied, not discussed and ultimately misunderstood diversity can become a divisive force. An appreciation of the unique black past, acquired through the study of black history, will help lead to understanding and true compassion in the present, where it is still so sorely needed, and to a future where all of our people are truly valued.

Thank you.

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Filed under Black History Month, comments, Eric Holder, Justice Department, Rush Limbaugh, text of speech, U.S Attorney General

>Remarks as Prepared for Delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder at the Department of Justice African American History Month Program

>The following is the text of the speech that was delivered by Attornry General Eric Holder at the Justice Department on Wednesday February 18th, in honour of Black History Month. It sparked the right wing rants of Rush Limbaugh and others.

Read it and decide for yourself whether or not you are offened by it:  
Every year, in February, we attempt to recognize and to appreciate black history. It is a worthwhile endeavor for the contributions of African Americans to this great nation are numerous and significant. Even as we fight a war against terrorism, deal with the reality of electing an African American as our President for the first time and deal with the other significant issues of the day, the need to confront our racial past, and our racial present, and to understand the history of African people in this country, endures. One cannot truly understand America without understanding the historical experience of black people in this nation. Simply put, to get to the heart of this country one must examine its racial soul.

Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards. Though race related issues continue to occupy a significant portion of our political discussion, and though there remain many unresolved racial issues in this nation, we, average Americans, simply do not talk enough with each other about race. It is an issue we have never been at ease with and given our nation’s history this is in some ways understandable. And yet, if we are to make progress in this area we must feel comfortable enough with one another, and tolerant enough of each other, to have frank conversations about the racial matters that continue to divide us. But we must do more- and we in this room bear a special responsibility. Through its work and through its example this Department of Justice, as long as I am here, must – and will – lead the nation to the “new birth of freedom” so long ago promised by our greatest President. This is our duty and our solemn obligation.

We commemorated five years ago, the 50th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. And though the world in which we now live is fundamentally different than that which existed then, this nation has still not come to grips with its racial past nor has it been willing to contemplate, in a truly meaningful way, the diverse future it is fated to have. To our detriment, this is typical of the way in which this nation deals with issues of race. And so I would suggest that we use February of every year to not only commemorate black history but also to foster a period of dialogue among the races. This is admittedly an artificial device to generate discussion that should come more naturally, but our history is such that we must find ways to force ourselves to confront that which we have become expert at avoiding.

As a nation we have done a pretty good job in melding the races in the workplace. We work with one another, lunch together and, when the event is at the workplace during work hours or shortly thereafter, we socialize with one another fairly well, irrespective of race. And yet even this interaction operates within certain limitations. We know, by “American instinct” and by learned behavior, that certain subjects are off limits and that to explore them risks, at best embarrassment, and, at worst, the questioning of one’s character. And outside the workplace the situation is even more bleak in that there is almost no significant interaction between us. On Saturdays and Sundays America in the year 2009 does not, in some ways, differ significantly from the country that existed some fifty years ago. This is truly sad. Given all that we as a nation went through during the civil rights struggle it is hard for me to accept that the result of those efforts was to create an America that is more prosperous, more positively race conscious and yet is voluntarily socially segregated.

As a nation we should use Black History month as a means to deal with this continuing problem. By creating what will admittedly be, at first, artificial opportunities to engage one another we can hasten the day when the dream of individual, character based, acceptance can actually be realized. To respect one another we must have a basic understanding of one another. And so we should use events such as this to not only learn more about the facts of black history but also to learn more about each other. This will be, at first, a process that is both awkward and painful but the rewards are potentially great. The alternative is to allow to continue the polite, restrained mixing that now passes as meaningful interaction but that accomplishes little. Imagine if you will situations where people- regardless of their skin color- could confront racial issues freely and without fear. The potential of this country, that is becoming increasingly diverse, would be greatly enhanced. I fear however, that we are taking steps that, rather than advancing us as a nation are actually dividing us even further. We still speak too much of “them” and not “us”. There can, for instance, be very legitimate debate about the question of affirmative action. This debate can, and should, be nuanced, principled and spirited. But the conversation that we now engage in as a nation on this and other racial subjects is too often simplistic and left to those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest. Our history has demonstrated that the vast majority of Americans are uncomfortable with, and would like to not have to deal with, racial matters and that is why those, black or white, elected or self-appointed, who promise relief in easy, quick solutions, no matter how divisive, are embraced. We are then free to retreat to our race protected cocoons where much is comfortable and where progress is not really made. If we allow this attitude to persist in the face of the most significant demographic changes that this nation has ever confronted- and remember, there will be no majority race in America in about fifty years- the coming diversity that could be such a powerful, positive force will, instead, become a reason for stagnation and polarization. We cannot allow this to happen and one way to prevent such an unwelcome outcome is to engage one another more routinely- and to do so now.

As I indicated before, the artificial device that is Black History month is a perfect vehicle for the beginnings of such a dialogue. And so I urge all of you to use the opportunity of this month to talk with your friends and co-workers on the other side of the divide about racial matters. In this way we can hasten the day when we truly become one America.

It is also clear that if we are to better understand one another the study of black history is essential because the history of black America and the history of this nation are inextricably tied to each other. It is for this reason that the study of black history is important to everyone- black or white. For example, the history of the United States in the nineteenth century revolves around a resolution of the question of how America was going to deal with its black inhabitants. The great debates of that era and the war that was ultimately fought are all centered around the issue of, initially, slavery and then the reconstruction of the vanquished region. A dominant domestic issue throughout the twentieth century was, again, America’s treatment of its black citizens. The civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s changed America in truly fundamental ways. Americans of all colors were forced to examine basic beliefs and long held views. Even so, most people, who are not conversant with history, still do not really comprehend the way in which that movement transformed America. In racial terms the country that existed before the civil rights struggle is almost unrecognizable to us today. Separate public facilities, separate entrances, poll taxes, legal discrimination, forced labor, in essence an American apartheid, all were part of an America that the movement destroyed. To attend her state’s taxpayer supported college in 1963 my late sister in law had to be escorted to class by United States Marshals and past the state’s governor, George Wallace. That frightening reality seems almost unthinkable to us now. The civil rights movement made America, if not perfect, better.

In addition, the other major social movements of the latter half of the twentieth century- feminism, the nation’s treatment of other minority groups, even the anti-war effort- were all tied in some way to the spirit that was set free by the quest for African American equality. Those other movements may have occurred in the absence of the civil rights struggle but the fight for black equality came first and helped to shape the way in which other groups of people came to think of themselves and to raise their desire for equal treatment. Further, many of the tactics that were used by these other groups were developed in the civil rights movement.

And today the link between the black experience and this country is still evident. While the problems that continue to afflict the black community may be more severe, they are an indication of where the rest of the nation may be if corrective measures are not taken. Our inner cities are still too conversant with crime but the level of fear generated by that crime, now found in once quiet, and now electronically padlocked suburbs is alarming and further demonstrates that our past, present and future are linked. It is not safe for this nation to assume that the unaddressed social problems in the poorest parts of our country can be isolated and will not ultimately affect the larger society.

Black history is extremely important because it is American history. Given this, it is in some ways sad that there is a need for a black history month. Though we are all enlarged by our study and knowledge of the roles played by blacks in American history, and though there is a crying need for all of us to know and acknowledge the contributions of black America, a black history month is a testament to the problem that has afflicted blacks throughout our stay in this country. Black history is given a separate, and clearly not equal, treatment by our society in general and by our educational institutions in particular. As a former American history major I am struck by the fact that such a major part of our national story has been divorced from the whole. In law, culture, science, athletics, industry and other fields, knowledge of the roles played by blacks is critical to an understanding of the American experiment. For too long we have been too willing to segregate the study of black history. There is clearly a need at present for a device that focuses the attention of the country on the study of the history of its black citizens. But we must endeavor to integrate black history into our culture and into our curriculums in ways in which it has never occurred before so that the study of black history, and a recognition of the contributions of black Americans, become commonplace. Until that time, Black History Month must remain an important, vital concept. But we have to recognize that until black history is included in the standard curriculum in our schools and becomes a regular part of all our lives, it will be viewed as a novelty, relatively unimportant and not as weighty as so called “real” American history.

I, like many in my generation, have been fortunate in my life and have had a great number of wonderful opportunities. Some may consider me to be a part of black history. But we do a great disservice to the concept of black history recognition if we fail to understand that any success that I have had, cannot be viewed in isolation. I stood, and stand, on the shoulders of many other black Americans. Admittedly, the identities of some of these people, through the passage of time, have become lost to us- the men, and women, who labored long in fields, who were later legally and systemically discriminated against, who were lynched by the hundreds in the century just past and those others who have been too long denied the fruits of our great American culture. The names of too many of these people, these heroes and heroines, are lost to us. But the names of others of these people should strike a resonant chord in the historical ear of all in our nation: Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White, Langston Hughes, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Joe Louis, Jackie Robinson, Charles Drew, Paul Robeson, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Vivian Malone, Rosa Parks, Marion Anderson, Emmit Till. These are just some of the people who should be generally recognized and are just some of the people to whom all of us, black and white, owe such a debt of gratitude. It is on their broad shoulders that I stand as I hope that others will some day stand on my more narrow ones.

Black history is a subject worthy of study by all our nation’s people. Blacks have played a unique, productive role in the development of America. Perhaps the greatest strength of the United States is the diversity of its people and to truly understand this country one must have knowledge of its constituent parts. But an unstudied, not discussed and ultimately misunderstood diversity can become a divisive force. An appreciation of the unique black past, acquired through the study of black history, will help lead to understanding and true compassion in the present, where it is still so sorely needed, and to a future where all of our people are truly valued.

Thank you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Black History Month, comments, Eric Holder, Justice Department, Rush Limbaugh, text of speech, U.S Attorney General

Rush: I’m No Coward On Race, I Stood Up To Media’s ‘Slavish Coverage Of Black Quarterbacks’


Related to a couple of my previous posts comes the latest Rush Limbaugh rant on race relations.

El Rushbo as he refers to himself, is commenting on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments on February 18Th, in which he called America “a nation of cowards’ on racial matters at the Justice Department, in honoring Black History Month.

This post and video clip from Think Progress explains El Rushbo’s rant and puts it into persective:

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the U.S. has acted as a “nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing the sometimes “awkward and painful” issue of race relations. Today on his radio show, however, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh rejected Holder’s view claiming, “I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … I show bravery on race” by standing up to the media’s “slavish coverage of black quarterbacks”:

LIMBAUGH: I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … In fact, I show bravery on race. I am totally willing to discuss it openly and honestly. How does one show bravery on race as I have? You talk about media bias, you talk about slavish media coverage of Black quarter backs in the National Football League. Then see what happens. Then watch all hell descend upon you from every quarter of this nation’s media. From print to broadcast to internet. … I show bravery on matters of race.

Limbaugh is clearly still bitter about the fact that he was forced to resign from his position as an ESPN commentator in 2003 for claiming that the media were only interested in Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is black (despite the fact that McNabb has shown himself to be incredibly talented):

Sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve.

By citing the McNabb episode as a “brave” moment in the history of race-relations, Limbaugh actually reaffirmed Holder’s point. As Holder explained yesterday, discussions surrounding race and public policy in American society ought to be “nuanced, principled and spirited.” But too often, we leave the conversation to “those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest.”

The result is a de facto acceptance and even endorsement of Limbaugh’s repeated race-based outbursts and criticism of public officials who choose to speak out.

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Filed under Black History Month, Donovan Mcnabb, El Rushbo, Eric Holder, nation of cowards, race and politics, Race Relations, Rush Limbaugh, Think Progress, U.S Attorney General

Rush: I’m No Coward On Race, I Stood Up To Media’s ‘Slavish Coverage Of Black Quarterbacks’


Related to a couple of my previous posts comes the latest Rush Limbaugh rant on race relations.

El Rushbo as he refers to himself, is commenting on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s comments on February 18Th, in which he called America “a nation of cowards’ on racial matters at the Justice Department, in honoring Black History Month.

This post and video clip from Think Progress explains El Rushbo’s rant and puts it into persective:

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder said that the U.S. has acted as a “nation of cowards” when it comes to discussing the sometimes “awkward and painful” issue of race relations. Today on his radio show, however, conservative talker Rush Limbaugh rejected Holder’s view claiming, “I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … I show bravery on race” by standing up to the media’s “slavish coverage of black quarterbacks”:

LIMBAUGH: I, El Rushbo, am no coward. … In fact, I show bravery on race. I am totally willing to discuss it openly and honestly. How does one show bravery on race as I have? You talk about media bias, you talk about slavish media coverage of Black quarter backs in the National Football League. Then see what happens. Then watch all hell descend upon you from every quarter of this nation’s media. From print to broadcast to internet. … I show bravery on matters of race.

Limbaugh is clearly still bitter about the fact that he was forced to resign from his position as an ESPN commentator in 2003 for claiming that the media were only interested in Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb because he is black (despite the fact that McNabb has shown himself to be incredibly talented):

Sorry to say this, I don’t think he’s been that good from the get-go. I think what we’ve had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn’t deserve.

By citing the McNabb episode as a “brave” moment in the history of race-relations, Limbaugh actually reaffirmed Holder’s point. As Holder explained yesterday, discussions surrounding race and public policy in American society ought to be “nuanced, principled and spirited.” But too often, we leave the conversation to “those on the extremes who are not hesitant to use these issues to advance nothing more than their own, narrow self interest.”

The result is a de facto acceptance and even endorsement of Limbaugh’s repeated race-based outbursts and criticism of public officials who choose to speak out.

Leave a comment

Filed under Black History Month, Donovan Mcnabb, El Rushbo, Eric Holder, nation of cowards, race and politics, Race Relations, Rush Limbaugh, Think Progress, U.S Attorney General