American Renaissance, October 2003
Bustamante’s True Color(s)
Cruz Bustamante, who has a very good chance of becoming governor of California as a result of the recall election on October 7, appears to be an out-and-out Hispanic nationalist. Although he has tried to downplay his involvement in the group, he has never repudiated the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA), or the Mexican Student Aztlan Movement. The group, whose well known goal is the expulsion of whites from the southwestern United States and the creation of an all-Mestizo nation, has chapters on 300 American campuses. Mr. Bustamente was an active member when he was a student at Fresno State University.
Mr. Bustamante was born in the United States, and spoke only Spanish before kindergarten. He later lost native-speaker fluency in Spanish, and now that he is in politics says he plans to regain it through frequent trips to Mexico (why that should be necessary for anyone living in California is not clear). But even as an English-speaker, he had no doubts about his identity. In high school, as he explained to a reporter in 1999, “you had to take sides. You were either a good Mexican kid or a coconut [brown on the outside, white on the inside].” No prize for guessing which side he took.
After high school, Mr. Bustamante went to Fresno City College to learn how to be a butcher, but dropped out. His father wangled a Washington internship with local Congressman B.F. Sisk, and young Cruz immediately developed a lust for politics and power. “I found that I could call an agency and make things happen,” he says. “That was very exciting for me.”
Back in California he took courses at Fresno State University, and flung himself into local and student politics. This was his period of MEChA activism, but he now says, “I wasn’t the most radical Mechista.” He describes the organization as an almost apolitical training ground for leadership. Once again, he failed to graduate.
He got himself elected to the California state assembly, and managed to sail through several squalls. He once told reporters at a press conference, “We could not conduct business without the immigrant.” When asked if he supported illegal immigration, he replied, “My district requires it.” When this caused a bit of a ruckus in the English-language press, he took revenge by keeping all but Spanish media out of his press conferences for a while. This caused him no difficulties with his Hispanic constituents, and was apparently no obstacle to being put on the ticket with Gray Davis as lieutenant governor in 1998. It was therefore on the coattails of a white man that the first Hispanic in more than a century was elected to state-wide office in California.
On February 9, 2001, the lieutenant governor gave a Black History Month speech to 400 members of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. A quarter of his audience got up and left the room when he referred to the group as a “nigger” labor organization. This gaffe — mortal for a white man — did not keep him off the ballot in 2002, and he was reelected along with Mr. Davis.
When it became clear this year that Republicans had succeeded in arranging a recall, Mr. Bustamante saw this as the perfect route to power. He decided he would let the recall proceed, but ignore the state constitution and disallow the simultaneous vote for a successor. This way, if the recall succeeded, the post of governor would be empty, and the lieutenant would glide into the job. Apparently a few fellow Democrats gave Mr. Bustamante a talking to, explained that California was not (yet) Mexico, and told him a tropical maneuver of that kind would not work.
Mr. Bustamante sulked but got into line. He promised to be a good Democrat and refrain from running as a replacement candidate in the recall. The party line was that the recall was a scurvy Republican trick, and that if no major Democrat came forward to replace Mr. Davis, Democrats would vote against the recall — because all the replacement candidates were Republicans — and keep the governor in power.
“There is no circumstance in which I would be a candidate,” said the loyal Mr. Bustamante. “I will not participate in any way other than to urge voters to reject this expensive perversion of the recall process,” he added. “I will not attempt to advance my career at the expense of the people I was elected to serve. I do not intend to put my name on that ballot.” It didn’t take long before he stabbed the gringo in the back and got on the ballot. Officially and illogically, he urges Californians to vote against the recall but also to vote for him as replacement governor. By running in the recall he has given millions of Hispanics a good reason to boot Mr. Davis after all.
Unlike Antonio Villaraigosa who, during his failed 2001 campaign for mayor of Los Angeles, never had to answer sharp questions about his Mechista days, Mr. Bustamante has had a bit of needling. When reporters refused to let him run away, and pressed him four times on his views of MEChA, he finally said “racial separation is wrong,” before immediately changing the subject. Wrong it may be, but when last year, at age 49, Mr. Bustamante finally completed his Fresno State degree by correspondence course (the job of lieutenant governor is not very demanding), he collected his degree in a Hispanics-only ceremony. [The foregoing is from excellent reporting on Mr. Bustamante by Lowell Ponte on FrontPageMagazine.com: Bustamante: The Racist in the Race? (Aug. 11, 2003) and The MEChA Whitewash (Sept. 2, 2003).]
Despite the media’s flicker of interest in MEChA, as with all non-whites, Mr. Bustamante’s racial nationalism is quickly forgiven, and will be no impediment to power. The great and good Senator Joseph Lieberman tells us his friend Cruz will make a fine governor. Perhaps the senator has never examined the official MEChA seal. In the center is an eagle with an Aztec battle ax in one talon and a stick of dynamite in the other. Although the senator jabbered a bit of Spanish during the Democratic debates in New Mexico in September, perhaps he doesn’t quite understand the MEChA slogan: “Por La Raza todo. Fuera de La Raza nada” (For The Race everything. For those outside The Race, nothing). Needless to say, a busy candidate for the Democratic nomination for president doesn’t have time to read “The Spiritual Plan of Aztlan,” which is admittedly heavy going, but part of which reads as follows:
In the spirit of a new people that is conscious not only of its proud historical heritage but also of the brutal “gringo’ invasion of our territories, we, the Chicano inhabitants and civilizers of the northern land of Aztlan from whence came our forefathers, reclaiming the land of their birth and consecrating the determination of our people of the sun, declare that the call of our blood is our power, our responsibility, and our inevitable destiny.
Someone who has taken the time to look into Mr. Bustamante’s doings is Thomas Metzger, leader of White Aryan Resistance (WAR) and former Klan wizard. Mr. Metzger urges all Californians to vote for Mr. Bustamante so as to flush the issue of Hispanic nationalism into the open. “The immigration thing has to be brought to a head, and I feel that the best way to do that is endorse the worst,” he says. [Nathan C. Masters, White Racist (La Raza Blanco) Endorses Bustamante in California Recall, CNSNews.com, Sept. 8, 2003.]
Sauce for the Goose
On July 31, the Israeli parliament approved a law that denies the right to Israeli citizenship or even residency to Palestinians who are married to Israelis. The law affects 20,000 couples, who will have to either move out of Israel — most often to Gaza or the West Bank — or break up. Children of such families are not considered Israelis, and will not receive Israeli passports.
The law has been described as a security measure necessary to keep potential terrorists out of the country, but its backers admit it serves another purpose. The liberal Ha’aretz newspaper writes that the new law is “an infringement of principles of democracy and equal rights,” but goes on to defend it in these terms:
“[Democracy and equal rights] must be balanced against the basic right enjoyed by members of the Jewish majority of the country to preserve the state’s character, which is defined as a Jewish state in the country’s founding declaration . . . This reasoning is extremely pertinent to those who do not want to live in a binational state in which a Palestinian majority can be anticipated in the not-too-distant future.” [Joshua Mitnick, Israeli Law Targets “Mixed’ Families, Washington Times, Aug. 18, 2003.] Arabs now make up just under 20 percent of the population of Israel, but their birthrates are considerably higher than those of Jews. It is from fear of displacement that Israelis so oppose the return of Palestinians who left the country when Israel was established.
Even President George Bush understands this. At the urging of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, he has several times referred to Israel publicly as “the Jewish state,” in recognition of the importance of homogeneity. He is reported to have agreed with Mr. Sharon that a “right of return” for Palestinians would be suicide. “If you allow more than three million Palestinians into your country, it will destroy Israel,” he told the Prime Minister. [Uri Dan, Auschwitz Visit Haunts and Inspires Bush, New York Post, July 31, 2003.]
Let There Be Whites!
Fred Caldwell is bishop of Greenwood Acres Full Gospel Baptist Church in Shreveport, Louisiana. He is black, and is tired of seeing only black faces in his congregation of 5,000. “The most segregated hour in America is Sunday morning at 11 o’clock,” he says. “The Lord is tired of it, and I’m certainly tired of it. This is not right.”
As he was preaching a sermon last July, he had an idea: pay whites $5.00 an hour out of his own pocket to attend Sunday services, and $10.00 an hour for Thursday night services. “This idea is born of God,” he says. “God wants a rainbow in his church.” The bishop’s congregation is reported to agree: members are chipping in to help with the costs. [Doug Simpson, La. Church Offers to Pay Whites to Attend, Las Vegas Sun, Aug. 1, 2003.]
Let There Be None!
Not all black ministers want white people around. In August, Baltimore’s Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, together with the Baptists Ministers’ Conference sponsored two public discussions for Democrats running for mayor. There are five Democrats — three blacks and two whites, including incumbent Mayor Martin O’Malley — but the ministers invited only the blacks.
Rev. Gregory Perkins of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance said initially that email invitations went out to all the candidates and that the whites must have lost theirs or decided not to come. The group’s executive secretary, Rev. Doug Wilson, later admitted they didn’t invite whites. Rev. Russell Johnson of the Baptist Ministers’ Conference says the forums were “only for black candidates.” State Democratic party officials tried to pressure the black ministers to hold another forum and invite whites, but Rev. Perkins said there wasn’t time to organize another event.
Baltimore is 63 percent black. Before Mr. O’Malley’s election in 1999, when he received 91 percent of the vote, the city had not had a white mayor since 1986. [Robert Redding, Jr., Mayoral Forums Exclude Whites, Washington Times, Aug.19, 2003, p. A1. Robert Redding, Jr., Leggett Assails Candidate Forums, Washington Times, Aug. 21, 2003, p. B1.]
Down for the Count
Mike Tyson is broke and has filed for bankruptcy. He earned nearly $300 million in the ring, but it’s all gone. Last year he was supposed to pay $10 million to his former wife, Monica Turner Tyson, but didn’t have the cash. During divorce proceedings, it emerged that in the two years ending in1997 Mr. Tyson spent $230,000 on pagers and cell phones, $410,000 on birthday parties, $8,100 to take care of pet tigers and $65,000 for limousine service. He also says his promoter, Don King, stole a lot of his money, and is suing the silver-haired impressario for $100 million. [Bridget Harrison, Iron Mike’s Broke, New York Post, Aug. 3, 2003.]
En Route to the US?
We reprint the following item verbatim and in toto:
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Around 2,000 baboon noses were found in an abandoned suitcase at Amsterdam airport after they started to stink, officials said Wednesday.
The noses were en route from Lagos [Nigeria] to the United States, apparently intended for an immigrant market.
Baboons are protected under international law. Their noses are used in traditional medicine in parts of Asia and Africa.
Dutch customs police discovered the suitcase at a baggage claim last week. They turned the case over to Agriculture Ministry’s Inspection Service, which said it had several leads that may help it track down the culprits.
[Dutch Customs Finds 2,000 Baboon Noses, Morning News (Fayetteville, Ark.), Sept. 4, 2003.]
Hurricane in a Teapot
Before 1953, Atlantic hurricanes did not have names. That year, to highlight the unpredictable nature of storms, scientists at the World Meteorological Organization began naming hurricanes after women. In 1979, after protests from women’s groups, the WMO started using men’s names, too. Hurricane names come from the languages — English, Spanish and French — spoken in the areas where the storms strike. Among this year’s list of names are Claudette, Larry and Ernesto — but not Antwon, Jamal, Keisha, or Latonya. This upsets black congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who thinks the names should represent “all racial groups.” She’ll have to be angry for a while; the name list isn’t scheduled to be updated until 2007. [Bill Thomas, Hurricane Latonya? The Hill (Washington, DC), August 5, 2003.]
How’s His Spanish?
Wilfredo Laboy is superintendent of schools for Lawrence, Massachusetts. During the summer, as he is required to do by regulations, he put two dozen teachers on unpaid leave for flunking the basic English proficiency test all teachers and administrators must pass. Now it appears that he, himself, has failed the test three times. State Education Commissioner David Driscoll says the test is tough for someone whose first language is Spanish, and says he will let Mr. Laboy take the test again, but at some point he will have to pass or give up his $156,560-a-year job. Mr. Laboy doesn’t see the point of the test: “It bothers me because I’m trying to understand the congruence of what I do here every day and this stupid test,” he says. “That’s what, emotionally, I’m so upset about.” [Schools Chief Fails Must-Pass Test, AP, Aug. 3, 2003.]
Former Catholic Blesses Voodoo
Jean-Bertrand Aristide is a one-time Catholic priest, now in his second term as president of Haiti. The constitution says no one may serve for more than two terms, so Mr. Aristide would like to change (or ignore) the constitution. In what appears to be a bid for popular support towards this goal, he has issued a decree making voodoo equal to Catholicism as an official religion. Voodoo artists will now be able to do everything priests do: marry, bury, and baptize. This will require a bit of adjustment since such things as marriage and burial require paperwork and about half of voodoo priests cannot read. The Ministry of Religion is working out the details.
The vast majority of Haitians believe in voodoo, which blacks brought with them from Africa. Voodoo is said to have strengthened the resolve of the blacks who massacred the French and won independence in 1803. Still, even after independence, voodoo took a back seat to Catholicism, and had a semi-secret status until 1987, when a new constitution officially recognized it. Most Haitians are delighted to see native beliefs on par with the religion the French gave them.
Houngans (priests) and mambos (priestesses) are particularly pleased. Houngan Adnor Adely calls Mr. Aristide “the president of voodoo,” and vows to support him no matter what: “We will stay with him forever and perform every ceremony necessary to keep him in power. We will not negotiate with any country on this, no matter how much pressure they put on us. We will eat rocks if we have to, as long as we can keep him in power.”
There is some debate, however, over just what voodoo is, and who practices the real thing. There is much communing with spirits, and plenty of sacrificing, but voodoo has neither hierarchy nor doctrine: “There are no laws or rules,” says Houngan Elie Duverger; “only a kind of lore that is passed from one generation to another through the calling of the spirits.” This is a great asset, says Mr. Duverger: “Voodoo is more flexible than other religions because it is whatever its believers want to make it.” [Carol J. Williams, Haitians Hail the “President of Voodoo,’ Los Angeles Times, Aug. 3, 2003.]
On Aug. 2, US Border Patrol agents in San Diego arrested five members of a family of illegal aliens outside the Mexican Consulate, where they were going to apply for the matricula consular ID card the Mexican government issues to citizens in the US. The five were promptly deported to Mexico, much to the annoyance of the Mexicans. Consul General Rodulfo Figueroa issued a statement expressing outrage that the arrests took place so near his office, and Deputy Consul General Javier Diaz protested to chief San Diego Border Patrol agent William Veal.
The chief gave in to the Mexicans, and on Aug. 8 told the 1,600 agents under his command that they could no longer arrest illegal aliens in cities, residential areas, near workplaces and locations where day laborers gather — in other words, at the very places they are likely to be found. He also ordered agents not to make arrests while driving to work. The only places the Border Patrol could make arrests were at the border or at established highway checkpoints.
Chief Veal’s order horrified his staff. Many supervisors instructed agents to ignore the order, and others openly questioned whether it was a legal command which they were obligated to obey. Agent Joseph Dassaro, president of the agents’ union, urged compliance but added:
We are all disgusted by the recent turn of events concerning the Mexican Consulate, subsequent related events, and the issuance of this recent [order]. The situation in totality represents the systematic abrogation of our responsibilities to foreign governments and interests. As federal officers, we should all be disgusted; however, we should not be surprised.
What is surprising is that senior officials in Washington overturned Chief Veal’s order. San Diego Border Patrol agents can once again arrest illegals wherever they find them.
The Mexican government has been lobbying American banks to accept the matricula consular cards as valid identification. Ironically, no major Mexican bank accepts them. [Jerry Seper, Order Not to Arrest Illegals Overturned, Washington Times, Aug. 21, p. A1.]
Last December in Klein, Texas, the home of a black couple, Nicholas and Tracey Gatlin, went up in flames. Since racial slurs were spray-painted on the wall, police thought it was a hate crime. Nicholas Gatlin filed a claim with Allstate Insurance for more than $100,000.
Arson investigators soon discovered that the Gatlins had burned the house themselves. They found a gasoline can in the living room and 18 places in the house that had been doused with gasoline or diesel fuel. Witnesses saw the Gatlins — who claimed to be in Louisiana at the time — removing belongings from the house shortly before the fire broke out at 4:00 a.m., and investigators found more than 100 personal items from the house, undamaged and intact, in the couple’s new apartment.
The Gatlins were arrested and charged with arson and insurance fraud. Last July, a jury deadlocked 11-1 in favor of convicting Mr. Gatlin of insurance fraud. Prosecutors decided to retry Mr. Gatlin, but on Aug. 18 he opted for a plea bargain, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for arson and insurance fraud. Mrs. Gatlin got four years deferred adjudication. The couple must also pay $13,000 restitution to Allstate. [Dale Lezon, Couple Burned Home to Collect on Insurance, Houston Chronicle, Aug. 21, 2003.]
According to a British government report issued in August, foreign-born inmates now outnumber native Britons in British prisons. At 2,800, Jamaicans make up the largest group of foreign jailbirds, and most are women caught smuggling cocaine. The British want the Jamaican government to help share the cost of its citizens to British taxpayers, and have suggested the island build a prison for Jamaicans convicted of crimes in Britain. The Jamaicans are looking into the idea. [Island Studies a Prison to Take Inmates in UK, Herald (Miami), Aug. 28, 2003.]
Allah and the Badge
Kimberlie Webb is a black Philadelphia police officer who converted to Sunni Islam two years after joining the force back in 1995. When off duty, she wears a hijab, a traditional Muslim scarf. In 1998 she asked for departmental permission to wear the scarf with her uniform, but commanders denied the request, saying the hijab was dangerous: someone could grab here by it or choke her with it. She accepted the decision at the time, but in February 2003 she filed a petition with the US Equal Opportunity Commission, saying her religious freedom was being denied.
In August, the Philadelphia Police Department was forced by a federal court ruling to allow policemen to grow beards for religious or health reasons. On August 12 Miss Webb showed up for her shift wearing the hijab. When her commanding officer told her to remove it, she refused, citing her religion, and was sent home. Police commissioner Sylvester Johnson says if she wears the scarf again, he’ll fire her. The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, DC, will press her case. [Thomas J. Gibbons, Jr., Officer’s Headgear Debated, Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 15, 2003, p. B1.]
More foreigners are moving into London than at any time in the city’s history. Last year alone, 125,000 immigrants arrived, and the city now has more foreign-born residents than either New York or Los Angeles. White Britons account for just 60 percent of London’s population, and are already minorities in six of 33 boroughs. Whites are fleeing the city — 100,000 left just last year.
For decades, Britain had a stable population, but thanks to immigration, it will grow from 59 million to at least 66 million by 2031. The government estimates the newcomers will need 3.8 million new houses; others say the figure could be 4.9 million. Rural communities in southeastern England, where the houses are likely to be built, say they do not want them, but have little choice. [Sebastian O’Kelly, White Flight as our Capital Grows Ever More Foreign, Mail on Sunday (London), Aug. 17, 2003.]
The British are not just fleeing London; they’re leaving the country altogether. Nearly 300,000 emigrated in 2000 (perhaps the highest number ever), and a recent poll found that 54 percent would like to leave. Their reasons? The high cost of living, high taxes, traffic congestion and skyrocketing crime rates — all of which are linked to mass immigration. [Britain’s Revolving Door, Parade Magazine, June 22, 2003, p. 11.]
In May 2001, Bette Thomas was elected mayor of the city of North Chicago, thereby becoming the first black woman mayor in the history of Lake County. Recently she annoyed the city council and many of her constituents by putting a picture of herself on the stickers North Chicago residents must buy for their cars. “North Chicago’s first lady,” say the stickers, which cost $12.00. The aldermen promptly voted to prohibit putting the image of any living person on stickers, and to require their approval for any new design. Mayor Thomas can’t understand the fuss. “I made history,” she says. “What’s the problem?” [Susan Kuczka, North Chicago Hit by Sticker Shock, Chicago Tribune, Aug. 20, 2003.]
The southern African nation of Botswana has the highest HIV infection rate in the world — 38 percent of adults. One of the 38 percent is Kesego Basha, who organized a beauty pageant just for HIV-positive women. Miss Basha hopes her Miss HIV-Stigma Free pageant will fight prejudice against infected women, and prove that they can still be “vibrant and beautiful.” One thousand people attended this year’s contest on Sept. 6, watching 14 contestants parade in evening gowns and traditional animal skins. They also sang native songs and talked about AIDS. [Sello Motseta, Botswana Holds Pageant for HIV-Positive, AP, Sept. 7, 2003.]
But doesn’t a little stigma discourage the behavior that spreads AIDS?
In August we reported that Ford Motor Credit Corporation had sued black political activist Al Sharpton to collect money he owes on a 2001 Ford Explorer. We also listed several other debts he’s welshed on, including back taxes, rents, hotel bills — and the $65,000 libel judgment stemming from the Tawana Brawley incident.
The latest company to sue the aspiring presidential candidate is Alpha International Travel, a Manhattan travel agency that claims he and his National Action Network owe them $193,131.97 for travel and hotel expenses. They also say the Sharpton people gave them fraudulent credit card information. Rev. Sharpton’s lawyer says it is the travel agency that is trying to steal from his client, and says he will file a criminal complaint. [Dareh Gregorian, Rev. Al Furor, New York Post, Aug. 21, 2003, p. 25.]
Fruits of Affirmative Action
The Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center was established in Los Angeles in 1972 in response to claims the black residents were not getting good medical treatment. The population has since changed, and the black-run hospital has been the scene of nasty turf wars as blacks try to hold on to power in the face of rising demands from Hispanics.
Quality of treatment has never been the hospital’s strong point, and King/Drew was recently stripped of accreditation to teach surgeons. This is a major blow that jeopardizes its entire physician training program. This administrative sanction by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is called “summary withdrawal,” and is given under only the most extreme circumstances and cannot be appealed. The hospital would not release the reasons for the sanction, citing “privacy needs,” but last year the surgery program was put on probation because residents did not get enough surgical experience, faculty research was inadequate, and the curriculum did not follow guidelines. Less than a year ago, King/Drew lost the right to train diagnostic radiology residents, and four more of the hospitals 18 training programs — anesthesiology, family medicine, internal medicine and neonatal-perinatal programs — are on probation or have received warnings in the last two years.
Loss of accreditation is a blow for several reasons. First, it triggers a clause that permits Los Angeles County to stop funding the hospital — though the county for now says it will try to work with King/Drew rather than cut it off. Second, it means the hospital must send its 24 surgery residents elsewhere to finish their training. Residents are paid very little and do a great deal of the doctoring in teaching hospitals, and replacement surgeons will be very expensive. Finally, a black mark of this kind is a direct reflection on the quality of a hospital’s standards and management, and is very hard to live down.
Marvin Jubas, who is on the board of Drew Medical Center, says it is easy to blame the hospital, but the problem is underfunding. However, outside audits confirm internal statistics according to which King/Drew spends more per patient than the three other full-service hospitals in Los Angeles County. [King/Drew Loses Its Right to Train Surgeons, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 23, 2003.]
The Beleaguered Blond
There are many blonde women in film and advertising but few blond men. Perhaps our taste-makers do not want to glorify the Aryan. In any case, a reader found this example of an attractive blond — serving as an armrest for a black — in a Sears advertisement.
‘Korean’ is Illegal
Donald Sterling owns the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team. He also owns 99 apartment buildings in Southern California, and has more than 10,000 tenants. In February, something called the Housing Rights Center filed a federal suit, claiming Mr. Sterling discriminates against black and Hispanic renters in favor of Asians, specifically Koreans. According to evidence given in the case so far, Mr. Sterling allegedly told a staff meeting that Latinos “smoke, drink, and just hang around the building,” and that blacks “smell” and “attract vermin.” Korean Americans, on the other hand, reportedly “will live in whatever conditions he gives them and still pay the rent without complaint.”
The case is scheduled for trial this fall, but Judge A. Howard Matz has already issued some injunctions. He has ordered Mr. Sterling to take the word “Korean” out of the names of his buildings. He had, for example, changed the name of the Mark Wilshire Towers to Korean World Towers, and had named another building Wilshire Korean Towers. Judge Matz said this was an illegal implication that the building welcomed only Koreans. As part of the injunction, the judge forbade rental application forms that asked about national origin.
Mr. Sterling claims he has never discriminated in the rental business, and that he started asking about national origin only after the Sept. 11 attacks, when an FBI agent told him he should keep track of Middle Easterners. [Jocelyn Y. Stewart, Use of Word “Korean’ Ruled Discriminatory, Los Angeles Times, Aug. 30, 2003.]
Rule by Judges
The job of the US Supreme Court has traditionally been to interpret the US Constitution (although there is no provision in the Constitution that provides for this). However, justices are increasingly turning to treaties and foreign precedents for ideas on how to rule. The decision last summer, in which the court found that Texas could not forbid homosexual relations, referred to the findings of foreign courts. Likewise, in 2002, when the court banned executions of mentally retarded criminals, it noted that this practice was opposed overseas.
Justice Ruth Ginsburg says the justices “are becoming more open to comparative and international law perspectives;” she cited a treaty in her June opinion upholding racial preferences in college admissions. She has also said that since the Internet makes it easier for American judges to read opinions of foreign courts, they should consider them when they make their own decisions. She also had advice for the American Constitution Society: “[Y]our perspective on constitutional law should encompass the world.” [Ginsburg: Int’l Law Shaped Court Rulings, AP, Aug. 3, 2003.]
Needless to say, when Justice Ginsburg talks about “encompassing the world,” she doesn’t mean it. She means only that she will pick the foreign opinions that suit her. If she really followed world legal opinion, she would have voted to punish homosexuals and to ban racial preferences. She would never consider studying a Mexican decision on the rights of immigrants or a Japanese decision on the status of women. Chattering about “the world” is just another excuse for ignoring the plain language of the Constitution she has sworn to defend and uphold.
Many Africans believe that a woman whose husband dies is haunted by evil spirits, and must be purified by having sex with a village “cleanser.” Widows are not allowed to attend their husbands’ funerals unless the ritual is complete, and if they refuse to submit to it, they may become the property of their husbands’ brothers or other male relatives. Unmarried adult women are thought to be unholy and disturbed if they refrain from sex, and are also supposed to entertain the cleanser.
Although it has regular pay and recognized benefits, cleansing is considered a low-class job for the town drunk or village idiot. Franchise Akacha, cleanser for the Kenyan village of Gangre, is certainly no Don Juan. His breath reeks of alcohol, and greasy food droppings cling to his moustache. The women of the village, who call him “the terrorist,” say he is skinny and has dreadful taste in clothes. Still, village elders appreciate his work. They believe that if the women are not purified the crops will be cursed, so they pay Mr. Akacha in cash, food and cows.
As AIDS ravages the continent, some women resist cleansing. Cleansers do not use condoms — Mr. Akacha says a condom interferes with proper cleansing — and they are spreading disease at an alarming rate in rural villages like Gangre, where one in three villagers is infected. Mr. Akacha does not worry about AIDS. He doesn’t know — or want to know — his HIV status. He likes his work the way it is. “It’s not bad for me,” he explains, “since I get to be with the beautiful ladies.” [Emily Wax, Kenyan Women Reject Sex “Cleanser,’ Washington Post, Aug. 18, 2003, p. A12.]