Friday, September 25, 2009

Change is Reparations?

Congressman Steve Cohen of Memphis is in the news again, well the local news. The morning paper dropped his name for being praised at a conference on slavery reparations held by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Recall it was Cohen who was behind the Congressional apology for slavery passed recently. You know where this is going.

Yes, it's a juicy article filled with tasty post-racial chops, but before getting into the meat let's deal with the concept of check payments to people for past sins. Here's noted reparations proponent Charles Ogletree, from the article:
Getting the study bill passed in this Congress is finally possible, said Ogletree, because "my sense is we could not have a more propitious time."
Ogletree, of Harvard, has been called Obama's "legal mentor". He once said that by electing Obama white America shouldn't get excited about the end of racism because Obama is half white. Like Reverend Wright, Mr. Ogletree seems to believe America had 9/11 coming to us.

That aside, even if America could somehow agree on providing some form of compensation for past slavery actions it's beyond debate that we're currently out of money. How would we get there from here?

Actually the thought has occurred to the proponents, whose solution seems to be to spread the wealth around. Here's Congressman James Clyburn, the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, explaining to Chris Matthews that nationalized health care, cap and trade and their cousins are actually a form of reparations. Making sense now?

But some are harder to satisfy than others. Here's Detroit city council member JoAnne Watson, again from the article, laying out a post-racial template on how reparations would be handled:
Detroit City Council member JoAnne Watson said that the apology was a first step. She said the second step is investigation, the third step is compensation, and the fourth step is consequences for wrongdoing.

"We are worth it," Watson said. "We're not begging. It's ours."
"Consequences for wrongdoing"? Hmm, does she mean hauling Rush and Beck to Leavenworth? Naw, probably something more like this:
On March 26, a former law student and her attorneys filed a class action lawsuit against several corporations accusing them of profiting from the enslavement of African Americans. Filed in federal court in Brooklyn, the suit names railroad corporation CSX, the Aetna insurance company and FleetBoston Financial Group, and promises to add an additional 100 corporations to the list. The plaintiffs beat a high-profile team working on the same issue to the courtroom, For two years Harvard University law professor Charles J. Ogletree Jr. has been searching for a reparations legal strategy. Members of his Reparations Coordinating Committee include, among others, attorney Johnnie Cochran, incoming Bennett College president Johnetta Cole, University of Maryland political science professor Ronald Walters, Cornel West and the former law student who beat him to the punch.
In other words, the punitive phase might be about suing large companies whose histories go back into the 1800s, for starters. Boiled down, going into the deep pockets. Spreading wealth. Notice the name Cornel West--another Obama advisor (who also had a rather unique opinion about 9/11) even though he was pissed when O didn't come to Memphis, was part of the team. And yet we're to believe it's the tea partying old white people who are so racist and threatening?

Nothing done in the name of national subterfuge is good unless it's done to protect the country from external enemies. And even then it might still be bad. Obama seems to like subterfuge.

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