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Jewish World Review Jan. 26, 2001/ 3 Teves, 5761

Wesley Pruden

Wes Pruden
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Consumer Reports

The gathering storm over Jesse Jackson

http://www.jewishworldreview.com -- A TINY LOVE CHILD may be the least of the Rev. Jesse Jackson's problems. He's at risk for conviction of fraud.

This time he's in the court of public opinion, from which there is no appeal.

Jesse has been running an elaborate extortion scheme, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not millions) from corporations that had rather settle out of court than try to prove they're not racist.

"Racism," as John Ashcroft could tell you, has replaced "communism" as the crime for which the accusation is all the proof needed to convict.

Charlatans, downtown thugs and uptown thieves throw the word around with gleeful abandon, and a lot of people are afraid to speak up to defend themselves. Instead of speaking up, they pay up.

Jesse has allies, reluctant as some of them may be, in Congress. Some of the tormentors of John Ashcroft have become so hysterical that the suspicion is unavoidable that Jesse must have interesting stuff in his files to keep certain skeletons dancing to music of his choosing. Sen. Patrick Leahy, Democrat of the Boutique of Vermont, yesterday chided Mr. Ashcroft for supporting the right of a schoolgirl to put a tiny Confederate flag on her knapsack and asked him whether he approves attempts to redesign the flags of several Southern states, which is none of a U.S. attorney general's business, whoever he may be.

(The thrilling state flag of Vermont portrays a glass of chilled chablis, a wedge of brie and a wilted bean sprout.)

Not since the Army-McCarthy hearings in the early 1950s has Washington seen a senator attempt to punish private political thought, but Jesse Jackson, coming out of his weekend "healing" session, is determined to defeat the Ashcroft nomination lest he reveal to his disillusioned constituency that his mighty jaw is made of glass. Democrats in the Senate must heel while he heals.

The reverend has his own reasons for keeping a friendly constituency in Congress, or at least a frightened one, just as he had his own reasons for trying to prevent a robust Republican national administration from succeeding a compliant Democratic one. His tax troubles are well-known.

"For example," writes JWR columnist Bill O'Reilly (of the Fox Network's "O'Reilly Factor"), who has been investigating Mr. Jackson's finances, "in 1998 the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition cited $1.2 million in travel expenses. But no receipts were provided in the [state of] Illinois tax return. You try that.

"In 1982, the Internal Revenue Service reviewed Mr. Jackson's non-profit status. About $1 million was unaccounted for. Mr. Jackson was ordered to repay about $700,000 to the government. It took him years to do it. The IRS did not charge him interest or penalty. You try to get that deal."

A lot of people are afraid of Jesse Jackson, and they're afraid of him because Americans, the overwhelming majority of whom are white, are not nearly as awful as Jesse says they are. It's ultimately the fear of white disapproval and white punishment that makes the charge so terrifying. Nobody knows this better than the extortionist himself. When he approached a Silicon Valley employer not long ago to demand that it hire his "consultants" on "integrating" the company, the CEO, knowing that his company had an exemplary record of minority employment, told Jesse to get lost. Naturally, he accused the CEO of rampant racism. This is an updated version of the racket Al Capone perfected, "inviting" businessmen to take him as partner or else.

But just as it was the respectable whites who finally had enough and cracked down on the Klan element in the South of a generation ago, so it is the embarrassed blacks who finally have been humiliated one time too many by Jesse Jackson. When he showed up at a black church in Harlem the other night to preach, pray and play the poor wretch in need of amazing grace, as if ancient Confederate nightriders from the Missouri backwoods had forced the lady on him, only the politicians with the biggest mouths were there to show solidarity. The prominently missing, reports Rod Dreher in the New York Post, were "the powerful New York City black clergy like Calvin Butts, Floyd Flake, A.R. Bernard, Gary Simpson, Franklin Richardson, and their followers."

When news of Jesse's love child surfaced last week, it was the unexpected suspects Jerry Falwell, George W. Bush who were the first to call to express Christian pity. Prominent black liberal pundits Clarence Page, Cynthia Tucker, E.R. Shipp and Jack White applied heat from the left, perhaps annoyed no little by the guilty white notion that Jesse should be excused by the fact that although following in the footsteps of Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart he is, after all, black. Racism, anyone?

JWR contributor Wesley Pruden is editor in chief of The Washington Times. Comment by clicking here.

Up

01/23/01: A graceless getaway, a graceful beginning
01/19/01: Once more to wave the bloody shirt
01/16/01: Bring on the lions, the clowns are ready
01/12/01: The dastardly plot to restore slavery
01/10/01: Mr. Lott's generosity to the Dems
01/05/01: Looking to the past for a bad example
01/03/01: A modest proposal for Arkansas folk
12/19/00: The reflexive sneer at George W. Bush
12/15/00: Taking inspiration from John Birch
12/12/00: It's time to raise high Florida's standards
12/08/00: A President Bush, and about time, too
12/05/00: Here come the judge --- and he's got a hook
11/28/00: Cry no tears for Al, lawyers are the losers
11/21/00: The useful loathing of America's sons
11/17/00: When this is all over, we spray for lawyers
11/14/00: Something murky in the twilight zone

11/10/00: Something sinister in Palm Beach

11/07/00: Low days in the life of the ruptured duck

11/06/00: A little race baiting in the final hours

11/01/00: Creator gets a hard time on the hustings

10/27/00: The sorcerer rides to rescue his apprentice

10/25/00: The founding father with a story to tell

10/23/00: A lonely passion for religious rights

10/16/00: Spending blood on the folly of fools

10/11/00: A big night for the embellisher-in-chief

10/06/00: AlGore's black problem

10/04/00: In headlong pursuit of the bigot vote

10/02/00: A modest proposal for Rick Lazio

09/27/00: When folks at home give up on a scamp

09/25/00: Gore plot exposed! The secret minutes

09/18/00: Playing politics with the blood supply

09/14/00: Al sets out to find his 'tolerance level'

09/12/00: When it's time for a thumb in the eye

09/07/00: Making a daughter a campaign asset

09/04/00: A footnote to the lie: How he beats the rap

08/30/00: Unbearable lightness of a cyberjournal

08/21/00: Clinton chickens on AlGore's roost

08/16/00: The long goodbye to California's cash

08/09/00: Innocence by proxy is a risky scheme

08/07/00: After insulin shock, an authentic rouser

08/02/00: When it gets hard not to get a little giddy

07/31/00: George W.'s legions of summer soldiers

07/26/00: He's set a surprise --- or a trap for himself

07/24/00: How do you serve a turkey in August?

07/19/00: Would Hillary sling a lie about a slur?

07/17/00: Process, not peace, at a Velveeta summit

07/12/00: The Texas two-step, a nudge and a wink

07/10/00: The Great Mentioner and his busy season

07/05/00: No Mexican standoff in these results

07/03/00: Denting a few egos in the U.S. Senate

06/28/00: Bureaucracy amok! Punctuation in peril!

06/26/00: The water torture of American resolve

06/21/00: The happy hangman is a busy hangman

06/19/00: Dick Gephardt finds a Dixie dreamboat

06/14/00: Taking a byte out of innovation

06/12/00: 'Go away, little boy, you're bothering us'

06/07/00: When a little envy is painful to watch

06/05/00: Fire and thunder, bubble and squeak

05/31/00: South of the border, politics is pepper

05/26/00: Running out of luck with home folks

05/24/00: The heart says no, but the head says yes

05/22/00: A fine opportunity to set an example

05/17/00: The Sunday school for Republicans

05/15/00: Hillary's surrogate for telling tall tales

05/10/00: Listening to the voice of an authentic man

05/08/00: First a lot of bluster, then the retreat

05/02/00: Good news for Rudy, bad news for Hillary

04/28/00: The long goodbye to Elian's boyhood

04/25/00: Spooked by Castro, Bubba blinks

04/14/00: One flag down and two memorials to go

04/11/00: Consistency finds a jewel in Janet Reno

04/07/00: Here's the good word (and it's in English)

04/04/00: When bureaucrats mock the courts

03/28/00: How Hollywood sets the virtual table

03/24/00: Dissing a president can ruin a whole day

03/20/00: When shame begets the painful insult

03/14/00: The risky business of making an apology

03/10/00: The pouters bugging a weary John McCain

03/07/00: When all good things (sob) come to an end

© 2000 Wes Pruden