News, thoughts and comments on civil rights and related issues.
Tuesday, April 27, 2004
News: White supremacist Matt Hale convicted
Matthew Hale has been convicted of attempting to have a federal judge murdered. He is the second leader of organized racists to feel the sting of the law recently. Georgia white supremacist Chester Doles was sentenced March 18, after pleading guilty to beng a felon in possession of firearms. The Associated Press has the story of Hale's downfall.
I was doubtful that Hale would be convicted. To reach that decision, the jurors had to interpret a statute that requires multiple instances of intent. The evidence was there, but could have been easily misunderstood. Hale expressed intent to have U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey murdered to one witness. Then, months later, he discussed the matter with his bodyguard, the informant who testified at trial, in veiled terms. The informant believed that discussion to be his marching orders. The jurors had to connect the first expression of intent with the second, expressed to a different person, to convict Hale. The risk was that the jurors would seek the multiple expressions of intent in one episode. However, they interpreted the statute correctly.
I don't accept the defense's contention that Hale was convicted because he expressed unpopular opinions. His henchmen have acted on his advice to injure and kill people in the past. Though Hale may never actually carry out an act of violence himself, he has proven he can persuade his followers to act on his behalf. He is a dangerous individual.
A common response of people who sympathize with bigotry is to say no one is hurt by it. The more deceptive of them will assure you it is all just joking around. The records of Hale and his cohorts prove otherwise. They or their followers have committed numerous acts of violence, leaving hundreds of people hurt or dead, in just the last two decades. Putting Hale behind bars may well save some lives.posted by J. | 7:00 PM
Monday, April 26, 2004
News: Constitution of Confederacy tells it tale today
In Texas it is known as Confederate Heroes Day and celebrated January 19.
Among the states celebrating the Confederacy today is Georgia, which has the original Constitution of the Confederacy in its state library collection. The University of Georgia is lowkey about its stewardship of the document.
The relationship of neo-Confederates to the constitution and the articles of secession of the states is an odd one. The historical documents are rarely referred to verbatim. That is likely because they undermine a key component of the neo-Confederate, and, increasingly, libertarian, perspective on the cause of the Civil War.
Historian Nash Boney sheds some light on why.
Neo-Confederates and libertarians claim that protecting states rights was the major cause of the Civil War. They carefully ignore the fact that the 'right' most protected was to own slaves. Once one acknowledges that, the rhetoric about the poor oppressed South rings hollow. The 'right' is specified in Section 2 of Article IV.
Section 3 of Article IV guards against slaves escaping and tries to maintain their slave status when they travel into Union territory.
The claims of the far Right about the reasons the South seceded from the Union melt away when one actually looks at the evidence.
Read the entire Constitution of the Confederacy and related documents at Yale's Avalon Project.
What's the art?
A detail from the Confederate Constitution for the state of Texas.posted by J. | 8:13 AM