Bulletin N 350



13 May 2008
Grenoble, France

Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
Human evolution, according to more than a century of scientific research, has produced in our species certain character traits, and central to these traits are the ruling triumvirate: the Id, the Superego, and the Ego. Our superego, according to this science, is the much feared and loathed authority that has been internalized by each of us; it prevents us from acting out the urges issuing from our id. But if we are successfully acculturated, we can negotiate this relationship between the "Master's Voice" and the "Animal Instinct". These negotiations are successfully conducted by the healthy ego, which arrives at acceptable compromises more often than not.

The superego, according to this view, is the "blind autocrat", who would terrify us into submission if it were not managed by the ego, which insists pugnaciously that every belief system, at any time, must be open to questions and debate. The "autocrat" resents this nuisance, but the healthy ego insists nevertheless, while the id lurks nearby, ever ready to take advantage of any constraints imposed on the superego to fulfill its own desires by overpowering the ego. Thus is the science of Freudian psychology . . . !

For more on the social history of this science, we recommend to CEIMSA readers the BBC 4-part documentary: The Century of the Self.

In his controversial book, Why The Havens Did Not Darken, the "Final Solution" in History, Princeton University Professor Arno Mayer quotes Max Horkheimer in "Die Juden en Europa" : "that whoever refuses to discuss capitalism should keep silent about fascism."(p.94) The political economy of European fascism necessarily required the active support of influential European bankers and industrialists. The common danger to western European capitalists was the threat of socialist appropriation of private corporations; their enemy was the spector of public ownership; and their greatest fear, the end of the private profit motive as they knew it. Indeed, the hatred of the Bolshevik revolution was at the core of European fascist politics. Prolonged wars and the destruction of democracy was deemed by most industrialists as a small price to pay in order to secure their free market economy from the threat of national ownership and democratic management of resources, production, and distribution.

On June 30, 1934 (Saint Bartholomew's Day), the fascist Sturm Abteilung (or the "Storm Section" a.k.a. the S.A.), which had been created by Hitler in 1921, was liquidated by the Schutzstaffel (or the "Protective Squadron" a.k.a. the S.S.) in a massacre which became known as "Night of the Long Knives". After refusing to commit suicide, the populist SA leader, Ernst Rhöm, was shot by SS officers. Unlike the SA, the SS had few populist impulses. There was nothing spontaneous, improvised, or undisciplined about their methods, writes Professor Mayer :

     [Himmler] quite rightly saw [the Night of the Long Knives] as a sign of the further
hardening of a counterrevolution from above, contingent on maintaining and exploiting
Germany's economic, social, bureaucratic, military, and religious establishment for the
radical transmutation of its politics, culture, and foreign policy, in accordance with the
syncretic ideology of nazism. . . .
   Himmler, who also became master of the Gestapo, was an impassive technician of
violence, whose mode of operation was deliberate, systematic, and efficient. . . . 
Whereas Rhöm had been proficient in raising and commanding popular followers and
storm troopers of nazism during the movement phase, Himmler was ideally suited to
be the grand master of an elite corps of disciplined believers and executioners for its
regime phase. Hitler himself realized this, and eventually claimed that he had "found
his Loyola".
   The collaborationists who had urged Hitler to curb the intractable SA felt reassured. . . . 
Encouraged by their easy and unbroken successes, the Nazi leaders kept alternating and
mixing moderation with extremism in pursuit of a project that, notwithstanding its many
inconsistencies, had an unalterable core. Hitler and his associates remained set in their
anticommunism and anti-Semitism, as well as in their resolve to expand in the east.

Before long, the systematic Einsatzgruppen under the direction of the SS was busily engaged in ethnic cleansing in the occupied areas of the Soviet Union. They were instructed by Himmler himself to kill Bolshevik officials and activists, Jews, Gypsies, and other "undesirables". Apparently no written command to liquidate these noncombatants needed to be issued; the ideological imperative was communicated verbally to the special SS commandos and the Wehrmacht elite. Legal immunity from most criminal charges was guaranteed to these tacticians of the Third Reich. Thus free of legal and ethical restraints, the SS zealots became increasingly hysterical as they encountered unexpected resistance from the untermenschen whom they sought to control and enslave by use of state terror during and following the massive German invasion of the Soviet Union. Himmler no doubt thought that state terror would overawe the soviet population (and, in fact, the entire world), but partisan resistance within the Soviet Union along with the unexpected discipline of the Red Army inspired resistance elsewhere. It also gave rise to indiscriminate mass murders with no strategic objective other than vengeance, classic scapegoatism, and perhaps lebensraum (by eliminating great numbers of the indigenous population). From this murderous activity evolved, according to Professor Mayer, the Nazi concept of the "final solution", and the construction of industrial-scale death camps in eastern Europe began. The politics of state terrorism and indiscriminate murder were soon displaced by a politics of genocide.

In the 6 items below CEIMSA readers will discover elements of a puzzle which depicts a nation living in moral confusion and mindless collaboration with murderous imperialist imperatives, but also containing the embryo of a future society. The system is broken, the capitalist elite have lost their credibility, and for the moment no alternative strategies for human liberation have effectively developed to displace the tired old tactics of "might-makes-right."

Item A. is the story, sent to us by NYU Professor Bertell Ollman, of a high-tech saboteur working for the Republican Party in San Diego, California.

Item B. is an article by Johann Hari, from the London Independent, and sent to us by University of Pennsylvania Professor Edward Herman, describing 21st-century scapegoating and the renewed politics of witch hunting in the global wastelands of capitalist academia.

Item C., from UCSD Professor Fred Lonidier, is an article covering the May Day marches and demonstrations of international solidarity in Oakland and San Francisco.

Item D. is an article on "The Rise of the Right", by Martin jacques and sent to us by Queens College NYC Professor of Political Science, John Gerassi.

Item E. contains links to two articles by University of Nebraska Professor Peter Suzuki on the history of "ethnic cleansing, American style" during World War II, which are now available on the CEIMSA Internet site, under our rubric "Scholarly Publications".

And item F. is an article by New York Times reporter Frank Rich on the miraculous redemption of right-wing Christian fundamentalists following their decision to support the Republican Party candidate in the November presidential elections.

Finally, we offer CEIMSA readers A Democracy Now! report on the private military company, Blackwater USA, and community resistance near San Diego, California, where new paramilitary facilities are being constructed just a few blocks from the US-Mexico border.


Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies/
Director of Research
Université de Grenoble-3
Grenoble, France

from Bertell Ollman :
Date: 3 May 2008
Subject: Infamous computer hacker CHAIRS the San Diego GOP!

Here is a little follow-up.

RAW STORY: San Diego GOP Chair Revealed as Infamous International Software Hacker

Where 'Last Ninja II' Was Cracked in Minutes, Warez Like 'Diebold GEMS/Accuvote' Will Surely Confound an Infamous Pirate Like 'Strider,' Right?
An investigative report by Miriam Raftery has revealed that the current chair of San Diego's GOP central committee is the infamous "Strider", an internationally known computer software hacker. His skill set should come in very handy down there in, of all places, San Diego, where the far-right Republican Board of Supes, and the far-right Republican Registrar of Voters office, have never met a hackable Diebold electronic voting system they didn't love.

FULL STORY (and some of our own personal recollections of "Strider" from late 80's): http://www.bradblog.com/?p=5945

from Edward Herman :
Date: 8 May 2008
Subject: The Independent: Johann Hari: The loathsome smearing of Israel'...
The Independen

From the front page of the Independent in London :
In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to intimidate and silence ? and to a large degree, it works. There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel will not attack as anti-Jewish: liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

The loathsome smearing of Israel's critics
by Johann Hari

In the US and Britain, there is a campaign to smear anybody who tries to describe the plight of the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to intimidate and silence - and to a large degree, it works. There is nobody these self-appointed spokesmen for Israel will not attack as anti-Jewish: liberal Jews, rabbis, even Holocaust survivors.

My own case isn't especially important, but it illustrates how the wider process of intimidation works. I have worked undercover at both the Finsbury Park mosque and among neo-Nazi Holocaust deniers to expose the Jew-hatred there; when I went on the Islam Channel to challenge the anti-Semitism of Islamists, I received a rash of death threats calling me "a Jew-lover", "a Zionist-homo pig" and more.

Ah, but wait. I have also reported from Gaza and the West Bank. Last week, I wrote an article that described how untreated sewage was being pumped from
illegal Israeli settlements on to Palestinian land, contaminating their reservoirs. This isn't controversial. It has been documented by Friends of the Earth, and I have seen it with my own eyes.

The response? There was little attempt to dispute the facts I offered. Instead, some of the most high profile "pro-Israel" writers and media monitoring groups - including Honest Reporting and Camera - said I an anti-Jewish bigot akin to Joseph Goebbels and Mahmoud Ahmadinejadh, while Melanie Phillips even linked the stabbing of two Jewish people in North London to articles like mine. Vast numbers of e-mails came flooding in calling for me to be sacked.

Any attempt to describe accurately the situation for Palestinians is met like this. If you recount the pumping of sewage onto Palestinian land, "Honest Reporting" claims you are reviving the anti-Semitic myth of Jews "poisoning the wells." If you interview a woman whose baby died in 2002 because she was detained - in labour - by Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint within the West Bank, "Honest Reporting" will say you didn't explain "the real cause": the election of Hamas in, um, 2006. And on, and on.

The former editor of Israel's leading newspaper, Ha'aretz, David Landau, calls the behaviour of these groups "nascent McCarthyism". Those responsible hold extreme positions of their own that place them way to the right of most Israelis. Alan Dershowitz and Melanie Phillips are two of the most prominent figures sent in to attack anyone who disagrees with the Israeli right. Dershowitz is a lawyer, Harvard professor and author of The Case For Israel. He sees ethnic cleansing as a trifling matter, writing: "Political solutions often require the movement of people, and such movement is not always voluntary ... It is a fifth-rate issue analogous in many respects to some massive urban renewal." If a prominent American figure takes a position on Israel to the left of this, Dershowitz often takes to the airwaves to call them anti-Semites and bigots.

The journalist Melanie Phillips performs a similar role in Britain. Last year a group called Independent Jewish Voices was established with this mission statement: "Palestinians and Israelis alike have the right to peace and security." Jews including Mike Leigh, Stephen Fry and Rabbi David Goldberg joined. Phillips swiftly dubbed them "Jews For Genocide", and said they "encourage" the "killers" of Jews. Where does this come from? She says the Palestinians are an "artificial" people who can be collectively punished because they are "a terrorist population". She believes that while "individual Palestinians may deserve compassion, their cause amounts to Holocaust denial as a national project". Honest Reporting quotes Phillips as a model of reliable reporting.

These individuals spray accusations of anti-Semitism so liberally that by their standards, a majority of Jewish Israelis have anti-Semitic tendencies. Dershowitz said Jimmy Carter's decision to speak to the elected Hamas government "border[ed] on anti-Semitism." A Ha'aretz poll last month found that 64 per cent of Israelis want their government to do just that.

As US President, Jimmy Carter showed his commitment to Israel by giving it more aid than anywhere else and brokering the only peace deal with an Arab regime the country has ever enjoyed. He also wants to see a safe and secure Palestine alongside it - so last year he wrote a book called Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. It is a bland and factual canter through the major human rights reports. There is nothing there you can't read in the mainstream Israeli press every day. Carter's comparison of life on the West Bank (not within Israel) to Apartheid South Africa is not new. The West Bank is ruled in the interests of a small Jewish minority; it is bisected by roads for the Jewish settlers from which Palestinians are banned. The Israeli human rights group B'tselem says this "bears striking similarities to the racist Apartheid regime". Yet for repeating these facts in the US, Carter has widely called "a racist". Several universities have even refused to let the ex-President speak to their students.

These campus battles often succeed. Norman Finkelstein is a political scientist in the US whose parents were both Jewish survivors of the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi concentration camps. They lost every blood relative. He made his reputation exposing a hoax called From Time Immemorial by Joan Peters which claimed that Palestine was virtually empty when Zionist settlers arrived, and the people claiming to be Palestinians were mostly impostors who had come from local areas to cash in. Finkelstein showed it to be scarred by falsified figures and gross misreading of sources. From that moment on, he was smeared as an anti-Semite by those who had lauded the book. But it was when Finkelstein revealed two years ago that Alan Dershowitz had, without acknowledgement, drawn wholesale from Peters' hoax for his book The Case For Israel, that the worst began. Dershowitz campaigned to make sure Finkelstein was denied tenure at his university. He even claimed that Finkelstein's mother - who made it through Maidenek and two slave-labour camps - had collaborated with the Nazis. The campaign worked. Finkelstein was let go by De Paul University, simply for speaking the truth.

Are the likes of Dershowitz and Phillips and Honest Reporting becoming more shrill because they can sense they are losing the argument? Liberal Jews - the majority - are now setting up rivals to the hard-right organisations they work with, because they believe this campaign of demonisation is damaging us all. It damages the Palestinians, because it prevents honest discussion of their plight. It damages the Israelis, because it pushes them further down an aggressive and futile path. And it damages diaspora Jews, because it makes real anti-Semitism harder to deal with.

We need to look the witch-hunters in the eye and say, as Joseph Welch said to Joe McCarthy himself: "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?"

from Fred Lonidier :
Date: 5 May 2008
Subject: May Day marches in Oakland and San Francisco.

OAKLAND and SAN FRANCISCO, CA - 1MAY08 - On May Day immigrants and their supporters marched through the streets of Oakland and San Francisco.  Marchers protested a growing wave of raids and deportations, and efforts by the Federal government to force employers to fire workers for lack of immigration visas.  They called for amnesty -- permanent residence visas which would give the undocumented immediate legal status and rights -- and equality -- opposing second-class status as temporary workers.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - 1 MAY08 - Bay Area longshore workers and their drill team lead hundreds of marchers down the San Francisco Embarcadero to protest the War in Iraq.  The International Longshore and Warehouse Union refused to work on May Day on Pacific coast ports to protest the war.


David Bacon, Photographs and Stories

Coming in September, 2008, from Beacon Press:
Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants

For more articles and images on immigration, see http://dbacon.igc.org/Imgrants/imgrants.htm

See also the photodocumentary on indigenous migration to the US, Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

See also The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

D .
from John Gerassi :
Date: 3 May 2008
Subject: The Rise of the Right.

Salut Francis: First the popular Socialist mayor of Rome, now equally popular and extremely efficient mayor of London, Ken Livingston, defeated by neo-fascist (or in Italy outright fascist forces). Whare are we going to end up? Here's an analysis by Martin Jacques of the Guardian.

Rise of the right
Martin Jacques

The use of fascist symbols, the threat of violence, the demonisation of minorities ... hasn't Italy been here before?

It is now clear that the left's victory in the Italian general election of 2006 represented no more than a brief

pause in the country's remorseless shift to the right.

One hoped that election might have signalled an end to the degenerative and anti-democratic trends that

had accompanied the rise of Silvio Berlusconi over the previous decade. In fact, it represented no such thing.

It is already clear that the third Berlusconi government will be markedly different from its two predecessors,

which were primarily about Berlusconi's desire to use public power to protect his private empire and to

change the law in order to prevent legal action being taken against him. He was successful on both counts.

Meanwhile the concentration of immense private and public power in the hands of one man signalled a

serious corrosion in the fabric of democracy.

The tone of public debate degenerated as political opponents were branded 'communists' irrespective

of their affiliation and Berlusconi steadily shifted the terms of what was say-able and acceptable. While

Berlusconi's allies, the neo-fascist National Alliance and the xenophobic Northern League, unconstrained

by the need of Berlusconi to appear - at least intermittently - respectable, worked relentlessly to shift the

minds of millions to the right.

This new government lies significantly to the right of the previous two. Armed with a sweeping majority

in both chambers of parliament, it does not have to worry, unlike, for example, the last one, about ensuring

that the Union of Christian and Centre Democrats are on side. The anti-immigrant Northern League doubled

its vote in the election, cornering 28% of the vote in the northern cities and emerged as the largest party in

Venice. The neo-fascists have just flexed their muscles in the election for the mayor of Rome and convincingly

defeated the candidate of the left. With Berlusconi enjoying a new-found confidence enabled by a government

that now enjoys more power than any previous one in recent times, and the Northern League and National

Alliance similarly encouraged and empowered by their electoral support, Italian politics have entered a new


This was demonstrated by the manner in which the supporters of Gianni Alemanno, the new mayor of Rome,

a man steeled in the fascist tradition, celebrated his victory in the Campidoglio with fascist salutes and cries

of 'Duce, Duce!', just as Mussolini was once acclaimed by his adherents. Or the way in which Berlusconi felt

able to declare, in response to the victory, that 'we are the new Falange' - the name given to the fascist

party in Spain in the 1930s. Or the fact that Umberto Bossi, at the first session of parliament, threatened

violence if the centre-left did not acquiesce in its plans for federalism. 'I don't know what the left wants [but]

we are ready,' he told reporters. 'If they want conflicts, I have 300,000 men always on hand.' Or the fashion

in which Gianfranco Fini, during a public walkabout with his followers in support of Alemanno, demanded to see

immigrants' residence permits, while Alemanno threatens to expel 20,000 immigrants from the capital, who he

claims have broken the law, and shut illegal Roma encampments; with Bossi is no less vitriolic in his attitude

towards immigrants.

The use of fascist symbols and terms, the threat of violence, and the demonisation of ethnic minorities: haven't

we been here somewhere before? They mark a decisive shift in what is regarded as acceptable. The tone and

agenda of Italian politics have taken a major turn to the right. We can now see the emergence of an incipient

ascist trend in Italy which, far from being confined to the extremes, has entered and infected mainstream political life.

The roots of the revival of this far-right populism are fivefold.

First, there was the disillusionment in the political class following the collapse of the cold war system together

with the tangentopoli corruption scandal, which provided the conditions for the emergence of a new wave of

anti-politicians untainted by the old system, such as Berlusconi and Bossi.

Second, there has been the creeping corrosion of the democratic system as represented by Berlusconi, which

has progressively adjusted and habituated Italians to a political system that is no longer based on the values

of open and fair political competition but on a populist authoritarianism.

Third, there has been the chronic stagnation of the Italian economy, which in recent years, notwithstanding a

 buoyant global economy and the fact that, for example, it has been greatly out-performed by a not-so-dissimilar

Spanish economy, has barely grown at all. This has contributed towards a sense of unease and insecurity,

 raising fears about the consequences of globalisation, a rejection of the outside (well-illustrated by Berlusconi's

refusal to allow Alitalia to be taken over by another airline), and growing hostility towards one of the most visible

signs of globalisation, namely immigration. Politically this is clearly reflected in the doubling of support in the recent

election for the anti-globalisation, anti-immigrant Northern League in cities like Milan and Turin.

Fourth, as the postwar political order has unravelled, so the older historical fault-lines of Italy have re-emerged

more clearly and more contentiously: in particular, the division between north and south exemplified by the

secessionist Northern League, and the long-running failure to construct an open, legitimate and representative

state that is not subject to private capture of one kind or another.

Finally, the very fact that the fascist tradition is such an integral feature of modern Italian history, having governed

from 1922 until its final defeat in 1945, means that its values, symbols, philosophies, assumptions, prejudices and

 emotions remain embedded in the Italian psyche, only a little beneath the surface, ready to be reawakened and

mobilised by a new generation of fascists should circumstances allow. That, alas, is what we are now witnessing.

One of Europe's great countries threatens to return to its worst past and thereby at the same time remind the

whole continent that the darkest passage in its own history is in the process of being exhumed and rekindled

on the Italian peninsula. The signs have been there since 1994. Now they are irresistible. We are being warned.

Europe must take heed.

from Peter Suzuki :
Date: 3 May 2008
Subject: Social Science, Ethics, and the Japanese American Concentration Camps of the Second World War.

Dear Professor Feeley :
Thank you very much for your prompt reply to my request and for the information I had requested.  . . .

I have attached a copy of the paper that I presented in 2006 at the American Anthropological Ass'n. Annual Meeting.  It is the first time that i was able to address the issue of the camp anthropologists and their misdeeds because fellow anthropologists would rather not know or hear about them.  In the paper, I mention a half-page ad that I had wanted  printed in the official newsletter of the AAA, "Anthropological News," which the AAA had initially suppressed.  A few sentences on the background of this suppression may be found in the paper that I presented in San Jose.

Even though you have probably gone on to other research topics, I shall send it as an attachment in an email to follow this one.

Thank you again for your . . . .substantial contribution on the topic of the social scientists/social sciences in connection with the internment camps.

Best wishes.
Peter Suzuki
School of Public Administration
University of Nebraska at Omaha


from Edward Herman :
Date: 4 May 2008
Subject: "The All-White Elephant in the Room"
The New York Times - The Late Edition

Here is Frank Rich on target.

The All-White Elephant in the Room
by Frank Rich

BORED by those endless replays of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright? If so, go directly to YouTube, search for ''John Hagee Roman Church Hitler,'' and be recharged by a fresh jolt of clerical jive.

What you'll find is a white televangelist, the Rev. John Hagee, lecturing in front of an enormous diorama. Wielding a pointer, he pokes at the image of a woman with Pamela Anderson-sized breasts, her hand raising a golden chalice. The woman is ''the Great Whore,'' Mr. Hagee explains, and she is drinking ''the blood of the Jewish people.'' That's because the Great Whore represents ''the Roman Church,'' which, in his view, has thirsted for Jewish blood throughout history, from the Crusades to the Holocaust.
Mr. Hagee is not a fringe kook but the pastor of a Texas megachurch. On Feb. 27, he stood with John McCain and endorsed him over the religious conservatives' favorite, Mike Huckabee, who was then still in the race.

Are we really to believe that neither Mr. McCain nor his camp knew anything then about Mr. Hagee's views? This particular YouTube video -- far from the only one -- was posted on Jan. 1, nearly two months before the Hagee-McCain press conference. Mr. Hagee appears on multiple religious networks, including twice daily on the largest, Trinity Broadcasting, which reaches 75 million homes. Any 12-year-old with a laptop could have vetted this preacher in 30 seconds, tops.
Since then, Mr. McCain has been shocked to learn that his clerical ally has made many other outrageous statements. Mr. Hagee, it's true, did not blame the American government for concocting AIDS. But he did say that God created Hurricane Katrina to punish New Orleans for its sins, particularly a scheduled ''homosexual parade there on the Monday that Katrina came.''

Mr. Hagee didn't make that claim in obscure circumstances, either. He broadcast it on one of America's most widely heard radio programs, ''Fresh Air'' on NPR, back in September 2006. He reaffirmed it in a radio interview less than two weeks ago. Only after a reporter asked Mr. McCain about this Katrina homily on April 24 did the candidate brand it as ''nonsense'' and the preacher retract it.

Mr. McCain says he does not endorse any of Mr. Hagee's calumnies, any more than Barack Obama endorses Mr. Wright's. But those who try to give Mr. McCain a pass for his embrace of a problematic preacher have a thin case. It boils down to this: Mr. McCain was not a parishioner for 20 years at Mr. Hagee's church.
That defense implies, incorrectly, that Mr. McCain was a passive recipient of this bigot's endorsement. In fact, by his own account, Mr. McCain sought out Mr. Hagee, who is perhaps best known for trying to drum up a pre-emptive ''holy war'' with Iran. (This preacher's rantings may tell us more about Mr. McCain's policy views than Mr. Wright's tell us about Mr. Obama's.) Even after Mr. Hagee's Catholic bashing bubbled up in the mainstream media, Mr. McCain still did not reject and denounce him, as Mr. Obama did an unsolicited endorser, Louis Farrakhan, at the urging of Tim Russert and Hillary Clinton. Mr. McCain instead told George Stephanopoulos two Sundays ago that while he condemns any ''anti-anything'' remarks by Mr. Hagee, he is still ''glad to have his endorsement. ''

I wonder if Mr. McCain would have given the same answer had Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted him with the graphic video of the pastor in full ''Great Whore'' glory. But Mr. McCain didn't have to fear so rude a transgression. Mr. Hagee's videos have never had the same circulation on television as Mr. Wright's. A sonorous white preacher spouting venom just doesn't have the telegenic zing of a theatrical black man.

Perhaps that's why virtually no one has rebroadcast the highly relevant prototype for Mr. Wright's fiery claim that 9/11 was America's chickens ''coming home to roost.'' That would be the Sept. 13, 2001, televised exchange between Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, who blamed the attacks on America's abortionists, feminists, gays and A.C.L.U. lawyers. (Mr. Wright blamed the attacks on America's foreign policy.) Had that video re-emerged in the frenzied cable-news rotation, Mr. McCain might have been asked to explain why he no longer calls these preachers ''agents of intolerance'' and chose to cozy up to Mr. Falwell by speaking at his Liberty University in 2006.
None of this is to say that two wacky white preachers make a Wright right. It is entirely fair for any voter to weigh Mr. Obama's long relationship with his pastor in assessing his fitness for office. It is also fair to weigh Mr. Obama's judgment in handling this personal and political crisis as it has repeatedly boiled over. But whatever that verdict, it is disingenuous to pretend that there isn't a double standard operating here. If we're to judge black candidates on their most controversial associates -- and how quickly, sternly and completely they disown them -- we must judge white politicians by the same yardstick.

When Rudy Giuliani, still a viable candidate, successfully courted Pat Robertson for an endorsement last year, few replayed Mr. Robertson's greatest past insanities. Among them is his best-selling 1991 tome, ''The New World Order,'' which peddled some of the same old dark conspiracy theories about ''European bankers'' (who just happened to be named Warburg, Schiff and Rothschild) that Mr. Farrakhan has trafficked in. Nor was Mr. Giuliani ever seriously pressed to explain why his cronies on the payroll at Giuliani Partners included a priest barred from the ministry by his Long Island diocese in 2002 following allegations of sexual abuse. Much as Mr. Wright officiated at the Obamas' wedding, so this priest officiated at (one of) Mr. Giuliani's. Did you even hear about it?

There is not just a double standard for black and white politicians at play in too much of the news media and political establishment, but there is also a glaring double standard for our political parties. The Clintons and Mr. Obama are always held accountable for their racial stands, as they should be, but the elephant in the room of our politics is rarely acknowledged: In the 21st century, the so-called party of Lincoln does not have a single African-American among its collective 247 senators and representatives in Washington. Yes, there are appointees like Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice, but, as we learned during the Mark Foley scandal, even gay men may hold more G.O.P. positions of power than blacks.

A near half-century after the civil rights acts of the 1960s, this is quite an achievement. Yet the holier-than-thou politicians and pundits on the right passing shrill moral judgment over every Democratic racial skirmish are almost never asked to confront or even acknowledge the racial dysfunction in their own house. In our mainstream political culture, this de facto apartheid is simply accepted as an intractable given, unworthy of notice, and just too embarrassing to mention aloud in polite Beltway company. Those who dare are instantly accused of ''political correctness'' or ''reverse racism.''

An all-white Congressional delegation doesn't happen by accident. It's the legacy of race cards that have been dealt since the birth of the Southern strategy in the Nixon era. No one knows this better than Mr. McCain, whose own adopted daughter of color was the subject of a vicious smear in his party's South Carolina primary of 2000.
This year Mr. McCain has called for a respectful (i.e., non-race-baiting) campaign and has gone so far as to criticize (ineffectually) North Carolina's Republican Party for running a Wright-demonizing ad in that state's current primary. Mr. McCain has been posing (awkwardly) with black people in his tour of ''forgotten'' America. Speaking of Katrina in New Orleans, he promised that ''never again'' would a federal recovery effort be botched on so grand a scale.

This is all surely sincere, and a big improvement over Mitt Romney's dreams of his father marching with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Up to a point. Here, too, there's a double standard. Mr. McCain is graded on a curve because the G.O.P. bar is set so low. But at a time when the latest Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll shows that President Bush is an even greater drag on his popularity than Mr. Wright is on Mr. Obama's, Mr. McCain's New Orleans visit is more about the self-interested politics of distancing himself from Mr. Bush than the recalibration of policy.

Mr. McCain took his party's stingierlineon Katrina aid and twiceopposed an independent commission to investigate the failed government response. Asked on his tour what should happen to the Ninth Ward now, he called for ''a conversation'' about whether anyone should ''rebuild it, tear it down, you know, whatever it is.'' Whatever, whenever, never mind.

For all this primary season's obsession with the single (and declining) demographic of white working-class men in Rust Belt states, America is changing rapidly across all racial, generational and ethnic lines. The Census Bureau announced last week that half the country's population growth since 2000 is due to Hispanics, another group understandably alienated from the G.O.P.

Anyone who does the math knows that America is on track to become a white-minority nation in three to four decades. Yet if there's any coherent message to be gleaned from the hypocrisy whipped up by Hurricane Jeremiah, it's that this nation's perennially promised candid conversation on race has yet to begin.