Friday, July 21, 2006

White Man's Burden 

Greg Palast, author of Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on Mr. Bush's recent journey into the heart of darkness -- a/k/a the NAACP Convention, which he had previously managed to skip for five years running:
Voting Rights Act: This was a big applause line. Bush gloated about his convincing the White Sheets Caucus of the Republican Party to go along with the renewal the Voting Rights Act. But he forgot to mention the fine print. The Southern GOP only went along for renewing the law on the understanding that the law would never be enforced.Think I’m kidding? Check this: in July 2004, the US Civil Rights Commission voted to open a civil and criminal investigation of his brother’s Administration in Florida for knowingly renewing a racially-biased scrub of voter rolls. In April 2004, Governor Jeb Bush, of the “family committed to civil rights,” personally ordered this new purge of “felons” from voter rolls, despite promising never to repeat the infamous scrub of 2000. The new purge violated a settlement he signed with the, uh, NAACP.

It also violated the Voting Rights Act. The Civil Rights Commission turned the case over to the US Justice Department which, two years on, has yet to begin the investigation. That’s not to say President Bush did nothing. He swiftly replaced every member of the Commission who voted to investigate his brother.

Ownership Society: Our President was really excited recounting how he spoke to actual Black people in Mississippi, asking how many of them had 401(k) investment plans. Strangely, he didn’t ask them if they had health insurance. Since Mr. Bush took office, the number of African-American adults without it has grown to 7.3 million. That’s a kind of death tax, too, Mr. President.
Coldest line of the night (by a hair):
Inheritance taxes apply only to those who leave assets exceeding $2 million. Mr. Bush realized how crucial this issue was to the NAACP.
Coldest line of the night, first runner-up (from Deb Riechmann of the AP):
"I understand that racism still lingers in America," Bush told more than 2,200 people at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's annual gathering. "It's a lot easier to change a law than to change a human heart. And I understand that many African-Americans distrust my political party."

That line generated boisterous applause and cheers from the audience . . . .

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