Al Sharpton

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Posted by pompos 04/30/2009 @ 12:13

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Al Sharpton set to meet Uighurs: Rev. heads for Bermuda to see ex ... - New York Daily News
Al Sharpton will travel to Bermuda to meet with the former Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Former Guantanamo detainees, left to right, Ablakim Turahun, Salahidin Abdulahat, and Khelil Mamut walk together in the historic district of St. George, in Bermuda....
Arpaio Set to Meet With Al Sharpton - BorderFire Report
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe will meet with the Reverend Al Sharpton in private this Friday, June 19, 2009 in the Sheriff's downtown office located at 100 West Washington Suite 1900 to discuss the Sheriff's illegal immigration enforcement policies....
Memphis hotel suing Rev. Al Sharpton's group for $88000 - New York Daily News
Al Sharpton's non-profit civil rights group National Action Network is being sued by the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. A grand Memphis hotel slapped the Rev. Al Sharpton's group with an $88000 suit charging the nonprofit didn't pay bills from its national...
Traitor Hiram Monserrate likens himself to Jesus - New York Daily News
Al Sharpton's National Action Network. Speaking on Sharpton's radio show, Monserrate commented, "You know, I'm never gonna compare myself to anyone in the biblical context." "I remember Jesus himself, when he saw that in the temple there were merchants...
Sharpton Takes Arizona Sheriff Up on His Dare - BET
Al Sharpton descended upon Phoenix Friday, taking the bombastic Sheriff Joe Arpaio up on his challenge for a throw-down over immigration in the Valley of the Sun. Several months ago, the civil rights leader threatened to shine the spotlight on Arpaio,...
The Peabody Hotel Sues Rev. Al Sharpton's Group for Unpaid Bills - TheCelebrityCafe.com
Al Sharpton's National Action Network group for $88000 after they booked space for a meeting in the spring of last year, but didn't occupy it. According to nydailynews.com, the Memphis inn, which filed the suit in Shelby County Circuit Court,...
The Banana Republic of NY Public Schools - Huffington Post
One of his allies in the business world, former Chancellor Harold Levy, persuaded his Connecticut hedge fund to donate $500000 to Reverend Al Sharpton, funneling the money from a 501C3 first, and then into Sharpton's pockets, helping Sharpton to pay...
What in the world is Al Sharpton doing? - Newsday
One theory was that Sharpton was trying to put a scare into Monserrate, who thumbs his nose at the Queens Democratic Party or anyone else who gets in his way. Another was that Sharpton did not want to look powerless amidst the Albany mess,...
Al Sharpton says mayoral control in NYC needs parent “respect” - GothamSchools
Al Sharpton and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, the two founders of the Education Equality Project, widened this weekend when Sharpton used his weekly radio address to criticize New York City's brand of parent involvement, as we reported he would....
Al Sharpton emerges as Obama ally - Politico
Al Sharpton speaks to reporters after a meeting about education reform with President Obama at the White House. Photo: AP It might be the oddest political pairing of the year. Barack Obama, whose campaign for president carefully avoided race-based...

Al Sharpton

Al Sharpton by David Shankbone.jpg

Alfred Charles "Al" Sharpton, Jr. (born October 3, 1954) is an American Baptist minister, political and civil rights/social justice activist, and radio talk show host. In 2004, Sharpton was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidential election.

Sharpton hosts his own radio talk show, Keepin’ It Real and makes regular guest appearances on Fox News (including The O'Reilly Factor) CNN, and MSNBC.

Sharpton's critics describe him as "a political radical who is to blame, in part, for the deterioration of race relations". Conservative writer and activist David Horowitz has called Sharpton an "anti-Semitic racist", sociologist Orlando Patterson has referred to him as a racial arsonist, and liberal newspaper columnist Derrick Z. Jackson has called him the black equivalent of Richard Nixon and Pat Robertson.

Alfred Charles Sharpton Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Alfred Charles Sharpton, Sr. and Ada Sharpton. He preached his first sermon at the age of four and toured with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

In 1963, Sharpton's father left his wife to have a relationship with Sharpton's half-sister. Ada Sharpton took a job as a maid, but her income was so low that the family qualified for welfare and had to move from middle class Hollis, Queens, to the public housing projects in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Sharpton graduated from Samuel J. Tilden High School in Brooklyn, and attended Brooklyn College, dropping out after two years in 1975. He became a tour manager for James Brown in 1971, where he met his future wife, Kathy Jordan, who was a backup singer. Sharpton and Jordan married in 1980. The couple separated in 2004.

Sharpton was licensed and ordained a Pentecostal minister by Bishop F.D. Washington at the age of nine or ten. After Bishop Washington's death in the late 1980s, Sharpton became a Baptist. He was re-baptized as a member of the Bethany Baptist Church in 1994 by the Reverend William Jones and became a Baptist minister.

During 2007, Sharpton participated in a public debate with atheist Christopher Hitchens, during which Sharpton defended his religious faith and his belief in the existence of God.

On January 12, 1991, Sharpton escaped serious injury when he was stabbed in the chest by Michael Riccardi while Sharpton was preparing to lead a protest through Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York. The intoxicated attacker was apprehended by Sharpton's aides and handed over to police who were present for the planned protest. Sharpton, although forgiving his attacker and pleading for leniency on his behalf, filed suit against New York City alleging that the many police present had failed to protect him from his attacker. In December 2003 he finally reached a $200,000 settlement with the city just as jury selection was about to start.

In February 2007, genealogists using the website Ancestry.com discovered that Sharpton's great-grandfather, Coleman Sharpton, was a slave owned by Julia Thurmond, whose grandfather was Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather. Coleman Sharpton was later freed during the Civil War.

Thurmond was notable as the longest serving Senator (at the time of his death) who was a major advocate of racial segregation during the middle of the twentieth century. Thurmond's illegitimate daughter, Essie Mae Washington-Williams, stated she would welcome Sharpton to the family if a DNA test shows he is a relative. In an interview, Sharpton said he has no plans for the DNA test to see if he is related.

The Sharpton family name originated with Coleman Sharpton's previous slave-owner, who was named Alexander Sharpton.

In 1969, Sharpton was appointed by Jesse Jackson as youth director of Operation Breadbasket, a group that focused on the promotion of new and better jobs for African-Americans.

In 1971, Sharpton founded the National Youth Movement to raise resources for impoverished youth.

Bernhard Goetz shot four African-American men on a New York subway train on December 22, 1984, when they approached him and allegedly tried to rob him. At his trial Goetz was cleared of all charges except criminal possession of a weapon. Sharpton led several marches protesing what he saw as the weak prosecution of the case.

Sharpton and other civil rights leaders said Goetz's actions were racist and requested a federal civil rights investigation. A federal investigation concluded the shooting was due to an attempted robbery and not race.

On December 20, 1986, three African-American men were assaulted in the Howard Beach neighborhood of Queens by a mob of white men. The three men were chased by their attackers onto the Belt Parkway, where one of them, Michael Griffith, was struck and killed by a passing motorist.

A week later, on December 27, Sharpton led 1,200 demonstrators on a march through the streets of Howard Beach. Residents of the neighborhood, who were overwhelmingly white, screamed racial epithets at the protesters, who were largely black. Sharpton's role in the case, which led to the appointment of a special prosecutor by New York Governor Mario Cuomo after the two surviving victims refused to co-operate with the Queens district attorney, helped propel him to national prominence.

On November 28, 1987, Tawana Brawley, a 15-year-old African American girl, was found smeared with feces, lying in a garbage bag, her clothing torn and burned and with various slurs and epithets written on her body in charcoal. Brawley claimed she had been assaulted and raped by six white men, some of them police officers, in the town of Wappingers Falls, New York.

Attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason joined Sharpton in support of Brawley. A grand jury was convened; after seven months of examining police and medical records, the jury determined that Brawley had fabricated her story. Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason accused the Dutchess County prosecutor, Steven Pagones, of racism and of being one of the perpetrators of the alleged abduction and rape. The three were successfully sued for slander and ordered to pay $345,000 in damages, the jury finding Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox for two, and Mason for one.

On August 23, 1989, four African-American teenagers were beaten by a group of 10 to 30 white youths in Bensonhurst, a Brooklyn neighborhood. One Bensonhurst resident, armed with a handgun, shot and killed sixteen-year-old Yusef Hawkins.

In the weeks following the assault and murder, Sharpton led several marches through Bensonhurst. The first protest, just days after the incident, was greeted by neighborhood residents shouting "Niggers go home" and holding watermelons to mock the demonstrators.

In May 1990, when one of the two leaders of the mob was acquitted of the most serious charges brought against him, Sharpton led another protest through Bensonhurst. In January 1991, when other members of the gang were given light sentences, Sharpton planned another march for January 12, 1991. Before that demonstration began, neighborhood resident Michael Riccardi tried to kill Sharpton by stabbing him in the chest. Sharpton recovered from his wounds, and later asked the judge for leniency when Riccardi was sentenced.

In 1991, Sharpton founded the National Action Network to increase voter education, poverty services, and support small community businesses.

Sharpton marched through Crown Heights and in front of "770", shortly after the riot, with about 400 protesters (who chanted "Whose streets? Our streets!" and "No justice, no peace!"), in spite of Mayor David Dinkins's attempts to keep the march from happening.

On December 8, 1995, Roland J. Smith Jr., one of the protesters, entered Harari's store with a gun and flammable liquid, shot several customers and set the store on fire. The gunman fatally shot himself, and seven store employees died of smoke inhalation. Fire Department officials discovered that the store's sprinkler had been shut down, in violation of the local fire code. Sharpton claimed that the perpetrator was an open critic of himself and his nonviolent tactics. Sharpton later expressed regret for making the racial remark, "white interloper," and denied responsibility for inflaming or provoking the violence.

In 1999, Sharpton led a protest to raise awareness about the death of Amadou Diallo, an immigrant from Guinea who was shot to death by NYPD officers. Sharpton claimed that Diallo's death was the result of police brutality and racial profiling. Diallo's family was later awarded $3 million in a wrongful death suit filed against the city.

In 2001, Sharpton was jailed for 90 days for protesting near a United States Navy bombing site in Puerto Rico.

In 2002, Sharpton was involved in protests following the death of West African immigrant Ousmane Zongo. Zongo, who was unarmed, was shot by an undercover police officer during a raid on a warehouse in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Sharpton met with the family and also provided some legal services.

On November 25, 2006, Sean Bell was shot and killed in the Jamaica section of Queens in New York City by plainclothes detectives from the New York Police Department in a hail of 50 bullets. The incident sparked fierce criticism of the police from the public and drew comparisons to the 1999 killing of Amadou Diallo. Three of the five detectives involved in the shooting went to trial in 2008 on charges ranging from manslaughter to reckless endangerment but were found not guilty.

On May 7, 2008, in response to the acquittals of the officers, Sharpton co-ordinated peaceful protests at major transportation centers in New York City, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the Queensboro Bridge, the Triborough Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, the Holland Tunnel, and the Queens-Midtown Tunnel. Sharpton and about 200 others were arrested.

On March 11, 2007, Sharpton held a press conference to highlight what he said was unequal treatment of four suspected rapists in a high-profile crime in the Dunbar Village Housing Projects in West Palm Beach, Florida. The suspects, who were young black men, were arrested for allegedly raping and beating a black Haitian woman at gunpoint. The crime also involved forcing the woman to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son.

At his press conference Sharpton said that any violent act toward a woman is inexcusable but he felt that the accused youths were being treated unfairly because they were black. Sharpton contrasted the treatment of the suspects, who remain in jail, with white suspects involved in a gang rape who were released after posting bond.

Sharpton is leading a grassroots movement to eliminate homophobia within the Black church.

Sharpton has also spoken out against cruelty to animals in a video recorded for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

Sharpton was quoted as saying to an audience at Kean College in 1994 that, “White folks was in caves while we was building empires.... We taught philosophy and astrology and mathematics before Socrates and them Greek homos ever got around to it.” Sharpton defended his comments by noting that the term "homo" was not homophobic but added that he no longer uses the term. Sharpton has since called for an end to homophobia in the African-American community.

In response, a representative for Romney told reporters that "bigotry toward anyone because of their beliefs is unacceptable." The Catholic League compared Sharpton to Don Imus, and said that his remarks "should finish his career".

On May 9, during an interview on Paula Zahn NOW, Sharpton said that his views on Mormonism were based on the Mormon Church's traditionally racist views regarding blacks and its interpretation of the so-called "Curse of Ham". On May 10, Sharpton called two apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and apologized to them for his remarks and asked to meet with them. A spokesman for the Church confirmed that Sharpton had called and said that "we appreciate it very much, Rev. Sharpton's call, and we consider the matter closed." He also apologized to "any member of the Mormon church" who was offended by his comments. Later that month, Sharpton went to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he met with Elder M. Russell Ballard, a leader of the Church, and Elder Robert C. Oaks of the Church's Presidency of the Seventy.

Sharpton has run unsuccessfully for elected office on multiple occasions. Of his unsuccessful runs, he said that winning office may not have been his goal. "Much of the media criticism of me assumes their goals and they impose them on me," said Sharpton in an interview. "Well, those might not be my goals. So they will say, 'Well, Sharpton has not won a political office.' But that might not be my goal! Maybe I ran for political office to change the debate, or to raise the social justice question." Sharpton ran for a United States Senate seat from New York in 1988, 1992, and 1994. In 1997, he ran for Mayor of New York City.

On January 5, 2003 Sharpton announced his candidacy for the 2004 presidential election as a member of the Democratic Party.

On March 15, 2004, Sharpton announced his endorsement of leading Democratic candidate John Kerry.

On April 2, 2007, Sharpton announced that he would not enter the 2008 presidential race. "I am not going to run," he said.

Sharpton has made cameo appearances in the movies Cold Feet, Bamboozled, Mr. Deeds, and Malcolm X. He also has appeared in episodes of the television shows New York Undercover, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Girlfriends, My Wife and Kids, Rescue Me and Boston Legal. He hosted the original Spike TV reality television show I Hate My Job, and an episode of Saturday Night Live. He was a guest on Weekends at the DL on Comedy Central and has been featured in television ads for the Fernando Ferrer campaign for the New York City mayoral election, 2005. He also made a cameo appearance by telephone on the Food Network series, The Secret Life Of . . . , when host Jim O'Connor expressed disbelief that a restaurant owner who'd named a dish after Sharpton actually knew him.

During the 2005 Tony Awards, Sharpton appeared in a number put on by the cast of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

In June 2005, Sharpton signed a contract with Matrix Media to produce and host a live two-hour daily talk program, which did not air. In November 2005, Sharpton signed with Radio One to host a daily national talk radio program which began airing on January 30, 2006 entitled Keepin It Real with Al Sharpton.

On May 9, 2008, the Associated Press reported that Sharpton and his businesses owed almost $1.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. Sharpton owed $931,000 in federal income tax and $366,000 to New York, and his for-profit company, Rev. Al Communications, owed another $176,000 to the state.

On June 19, 2008, the New York Post reported that the Internal Revenue Service had sent subpoenas to several corporations that had donated to Sharpton's National Action Network. In 2007 New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began investigating the National Action Network, because it failed to make proper financial reports, as required for non-profits. According to the Post, several major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch and Colgate-Palmolive, have donated thousands of dollars to the National Action Network. The Post asserted that the donations were made to prevent boycotts or rallies by the National Action Network.

Sharpton countered the investigative actions with a charge that they reflected a political agenda by United States agencies.

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Keepin It Real with Al Sharpton

Keepin It Real with Al Sharpton is a daily national talk radio program by New York City area civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton.

While his show is based at New York City's WWRL, an Air America Radio affiliate, "Keepin It Real with Al Sharpton" is also broadcast on XM Satellite Radio since August 13, 2007. As noted by Sharpton, the show is also broadcast on Radio One (company).

The show is broadcast weekday evenings, from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM in New York City. It broadcasts in 40 media markets.

In June 2005, Sharpton signed a contract with Matrix Media to produce and host a live two-hour daily talk program, which did not air. In November 2005, Sharpton signed with Radio One to host the program which began airing on January 30, 2006.

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Jesse Jackson

Jesse Jackson

Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. (born October 8, 1941) is an American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as "shadow senator" for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH. Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr. is his eldest son. According to an AP-AOL "Black Voices" poll in February 2006, Jackson was voted "the most important black leader" with 15% of the vote.

Jackson was born Jesse Louis Burns in Greenville, South Carolina, to Helen Burns. Helen Burns was a 16-year old single mother when he was born. His biological father, Noah Louis Robinson, a former professional boxer and a prominent figure in the black community, was married to another woman when Jesse was born. He was not involved in his son's life. In 1943, two years after Jesse's birth, his mother married Charles Henry Jackson, who would adopt Jesse 14 years later. Jesse went on to take the surname of his stepfather.

Jackson attended Sterling High School, a segregated high school in Greenville, where he was a student-athlete. Upon graduating in 1959, he rejected a contract from a professional baseball team so that he could attend the racially integrated University of Illinois on a football scholarship. However, one year later, Jackson transferred to North Carolina A&T located in Greensboro, North Carolina. There are differing accounts for the reasons behind this transfer. Jackson claims that the change was based on the school's racial biases which included his being unable to play as a quarterback despite being a star quarterback at his high school. ESPN.com however suggests that claims of racial discrimination on the football team may be exaggerated because Illinois's starting quarterback that year was an African American, although it does not mention factors besides the quarterback's race which may have contributed to this perception (such as team dynamics or interpersonal interactions with other players on the team). Jackson also mentions being demoted by his speech professor as an alternate in a public speaking competition team despite the support of his teammates who elected him a place on the team for his superior abilities. Jackson left Illinois at the end of his second semester after being placed on academic probation. Following his graduation from A&T, Jackson attended the Chicago Theological Seminary with the intent of becoming a minister, but dropped out in 1966 to focus full-time on the civil rights movement. He was ordained in 1968, without a theological degree; awarded an honorary theological doctorate from Chicago in 1990; and received his Master of Divinity Degree based on his previous credits earned, plus his life experience and subsequent work, in 2000.

Jackson married Jacqueline Lavinia Brown (born 1944) on, December 31, 1962, and they had five children: Santita (1963), Jesse Jr. (1965), Jonathan Luther (1966), Yusef DuBois (1970), and Jacqueline Lavinia (1975).

In 2001, Jackson was shown to have had an affair with a staffer, Karin Stanford, that resulted in the birth of a daughter, Ashley, in May 1999. According to CNN, in August 1999, The Rainbow Push Coalition had paid Stanford $15,000 in moving expenses and $21,000 in payment for contracting work. A promised advance of an additional $40,000 against future contracting work was rescinded once the affair became public. This incident prompted Jackson to withdraw from activism for a short time. Separate from the 1999 Rainbow Coalition payments, Jackson pays $4,000 a month in child support.

In 1965, he participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches organized by James Bevel, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other civil rights leaders in Alabama. When Jackson returned from Selma, he threw himself into SCLC's effort to establish a beachhead of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Chicago.

When King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, the day after his famous "I’ve been to the mountaintop" speech at the Mason Temple, Jackson was in the parking lot one floor below. Jackson's appearance on NBC's Today Show, wearing the same blood-stained turtleneck that he had worn the day before, drew criticism from several King aides; some King associates also dispute Jackson's description of his personal involvement and also of the sequence of events surrounding the assassination.

Jackson has been known for commanding public attention since he first started working for King in 1966. His primary goal for this attention has been to give blacks a sense of self-worth.

Beginning in 1968, Jackson increasingly clashed with Ralph Abernathy, King's successor as chairman of SCLC. In December, 1971, they had a complete falling out. Abernathy suspended Jackson for “administrative improprieties and repeated acts of violation of organizational policy.” Jackson resigned, called together his allies, and Operation PUSH was born during the same month. The new group was organized in the home of Dr. T.R.M. Howard who also became a member of the board of directors and chair of the finance committee.

In 1984, Jackson organized the Rainbow Coalition, which later merged, in 1996, with Operation PUSH. The newly formed Rainbow PUSH organization brought his role as an important and effective organizer to the mainstream. Al Sharpton also left the SCLC in protest to follow Jackson and formed the National Youth Movement.

In March 2006, an African-American woman accused three white members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team of raping her. During the ensuing controversy, Jackson stated that his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition would pay for the rest of her college tuition regardless of the outcome of the case. The case against the three men was later thrown out and the players were declared innocent by the North Carolina Attorney General.

In 1995, Jackson made headlines again when he wrote to the FOX network protesting an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers in which one protagonist, the "White Ranger," appeared to extol the virtues of "White Power". Jackson later retracted his statement, but FOX nonetheless censored the line in future airings.

Jackson took a key role in the scandal caused by comedic actor Michael Richards' racially charged comments in November 2006. Richards called Jackson a few days after the incident to apologize; Jackson accepted Richards' apology and met with him publicly as a means of resolving the situation. Jackson also joined black leaders in a call for the elimination of the "N-word" throughout the entertainment industry.

During the 1980s, he achieved wide fame as an African American leader and as a politician, as well as becoming a well-known spokesman for civil rights issues. His influence extended to international matters in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1983, Jackson traveled to Syria to secure the release of a captured American pilot, Navy Lt. Robert Goodman who was being held by the Syrian government. Goodman had been shot down over Lebanon while on a mission to bomb Syrian positions in that country. After a dramatic personal appeal that Jackson made to Syrian President Hafez al-Assad, Goodman was released. Initially, the Reagan administration was skeptical about Jackson's trip to Syria. However, after Jackson secured Goodman's release, United States President Ronald Reagan welcomed both Jackson and Goodman to the White House on January 4, 1984. This helped to boost Jackson's popularity as an American patriot and served as a springboard for his 1984 presidential run. In June 1984, Jackson negotiated the release of twenty-two Americans being held in Cuba after an invitation by Cuban president Fidel Castro.

He traveled to Kenya in 1997 to meet with Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi as United States President Bill Clinton's special envoy for democracy to promote free and fair elections. In April 1999, during the Kosovo War, Jackson traveled to Belgrade to negotiate the release of three U.S. POWs captured on the Macedonian border while patrolling with a UN peacekeeping unit. He met with the then-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milošević, who later agreed to release the three men.

His international efforts continued into the 2000s. On February 15, 2003, Jackson spoke in front of over an estimated one million people in Hyde Park, London at the culmination of the anti-war demonstration against the imminent invasion of Iraq by the U.S. and the United Kingdom. In November 2004, Jackson visited senior politicians and community activists in Northern Ireland in an effort to encourage better cross-community relations and rebuild the peace process and restore the governmental institutions of the Belfast Agreement. In August 2005, Jackson traveled to Venezuela to meet Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, following controversial remarks by televangelist Pat Robertson in which he implied that Chávez should be assassinated. Jackson condemned Robertson's remarks as immoral. After meeting with Chávez and addressing the Venezuelan Parliament, Jackson said that there was no evidence that Venezuela posed a threat to the U.S. Jackson also met representatives from the Afro Venezuela and indigenous communities.

In 2005, he was enlisted as part of the United Kingdom's "Operation Black Vote", a campaign to encourage more of Britain's ethnic minorities to vote in political elections ahead of the May 2005 General Election.

On November 3, 1983, he announced his campaign for presidency. In 1984, Jackson became the second African American (after Shirley Chisholm) to mount a nationwide campaign for President of the United States, running as a Democrat.

In the primaries, Jackson, who had been written off by pundits as a fringe candidate with little chance at winning the nomination, surprised many when he took third place behind Senator Gary Hart and former Vice President Walter Mondale, who eventually won the nomination. Jackson garnered 3,282,431 primary votes, or 18.2 percent of the total, in 1984, and won five primaries and caucuses, including Louisiana, the District of Columbia, South Carolina, Virginia, and one of two separate contests in Mississippi.

As he had gained 21% of the popular vote but only 8% of delegates, he afterwards complained that he had been handicapped by party rules. While Mondale (in the words of his aides) was determined to establish a precedent with his vice presidential candidate by picking a woman or visible minority, Jackson criticized the screening process as a "p.r. parade of personalities". He also mocked Mondale, saying that Hubert Humphrey was the "last significant politician out of the St. Paul–Minneapolis" area.

Jackson referred to Jews as "Hymies" and to New York City as "Hymietown" in January 1984 during a conversation with Washington Post reporter Milton Coleman. Jackson at first denied the remarks, then accused Jews of conspiring to defeat him. When he finally did acknowledge that it was wrong to use the term, he said he did so in private to a reporter. Finally, Jackson apologized during a speech before national Jewish leaders in a Manchester, New Hampshire synagogue, but continuing suspicions have led to an enduring split between Jackson and many Jews.

Among Jackson's other remarks were that Richard Nixon was less attentive to poverty in the U.S. because "four out of five are German Jews and their priorities are on Europe and Asia"; that he was "sick and tired of hearing about the Holocaust"; and that there are "very few Jewish reporters that have the capacity to be objective about Arab affairs". In 1979, Jackson said on a trip to the Middle East that Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was a "terrorist," and Israel was a "theocracy." Jackson has since apologized for at least some of these remarks and was later invited to speak in support of Al Gore and Joe Lieberman at the 2000 Democratic National Convention.

Four years later, in 1988, Jackson once again offered himself as a candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. This time, his successes in the past made him a more credible candidate, and he was both better financed and better organized. Although most people did not seem to believe he had a serious chance at winning, Jackson once again exceeded expectations as he more than doubled his previous results, prompting R.W. Apple of the New York Times to call 1988 "the Year of Jackson".

He captured 6.9 million votes and won 11 contests; seven primaries (Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Virginia) and four caucuses (Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina and Vermont). Jackson also scored March victories in Alaska's caucuses and Texas's local conventions, despite losing the Texas primary. Briefly, after he won 55% of the vote in the Michigan Democratic caucus, he was considered the frontrunner for the nomination, as he surpassed all the other candidates in total number of pledged delegates.

Jackson's campaign had also been interrupted by allegations regarding his half-brother Noah Robinson, Jr.'s criminal activity. Jackson had to answer frequent questions about his brother, who was often referred to as "the Billy Carter of the Jackson campaign".

On the heels of Jackson's narrow loss to Dukakis the day before in Colorado, Dukakis' comfortable win in Wisconsin terminated Jackson's momentum. The victory established Dukakis as the clear Democratic frontrunner, and he went on to claim the party's nomination, but lost the general election in November.

With the exception of a resolution to implement sanctions against South Africa for its apartheid policies, none of these positions made it into the party's platform in either 1984 or 1988.

However, since then, Jackson has adopted an openly pro-choice view, believing the right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy is fundamental and should not be infringed in any way by the government.

He ran for office as "shadow senator" for the District of Columbia when the position was created in 1991, and served as such through 1997, when he did not run for re-election. This unpaid position was primarily a post to lobby for statehood for the District of Columbia.

In the mid-1990s, he was approached about being the United States Ambassador to South Africa but declined the opportunity in favor of helping his son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., run for the United States House of Representatives.

While Jackson was initially critical of the "Third Way" or more moderate policies of Bill Clinton, he became a key ally in gaining African American support for Clinton and eventually became a close advisor and friend of the Clinton family. Clinton awarded Jackson the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest honor bestowed on civilians. His son, Jesse Jackson, Jr., also emerged as a political figure, becoming a member of the United States House of Representatives from Illinois. In 2002, scholar Molefi Kete Asante listed Jesse Jackson on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. In 2003, Jackson surprised many observers by declining to endorse the campaigns of either Al Sharpton or former Senator Carol Moseley Braun, the two African American candidates, in the race for the Democratic Party's 2004 presidential nomination. Instead, Jackson remained largely silent about his preference in the race until late in the primary season, when he allowed Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, another presidential candidate, to speak at a Rainbow/PUSH forum on March 31, 2004. Although he did not explicitly voice an endorsement of Rep. Kucinich, Jackson described Kucinich as "assuming the burden of saying 'you make the most sense, but you can't win.'" He also writes for The Progressive Populist.

Jackson gathered information and support to investigate the 2004 U.S. presidential election controversy, particularly the voting results in Ohio and its recount. He called for a congressional debate on the matter, asking for a fair count and national voting standards, saying that the elections in the United States are each run with different standards by different states with partisan tricks, racial bias, and widespread incompetence and are an open scandal.

Jackson said that he held some hope that the election could be overturned, although he admitted that that was very doubtful. Jackson compared the voting irregularities of Ohio to that of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, saying that if Ohio were Ukraine, the U.S. presidential election would not have been certified by the international community. Jackson called Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell inappropriately partisan and said that Blackwell may have been pressured by President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney to deliver Ohio to the Republican Party.

On January 6, 2005, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Democratic staff released a 100 page report on the Ohio election. This challenge to the Ohio election was rejected by a vote of 74-1 by the United States Senate and 267-31 in the House. Many high-ranking Democrats chose to distance themselves from this debate, including John Kerry, despite Jesse Jackson personally asking Kerry for help. The call for election reform legislation and voting rights protection nonetheless continued.

In early 2005, Jackson visited the parents in the Terri Schiavo case; he supported their unsuccessful bid to keep her alive.

On June 23, 2007 Jackson was arrested in connection with a protest at a gun store in Riverdale, a poor suburb of Chicago, Illinois. Jackson and others were protesting the fact that the gun store allegedly had been selling firearms to local gang members and was contributing to the decay of the community. According to police reports, Jackson refused to stop blocking the front entrance of the store and let customers pass. He was charged with one count of criminal trespass to property.

In March 2007, Jackson declared his support for then-Senator Barack Obama in the 2008 democratic primaries. Jackson later criticized Barack Obama in 2007 for "acting like he's white," in response to the Jena 6 beating case.

On July 6, 2008, during an interview with Fox News, a microphone picked up Jackson whispering to fellow guest Dr. Reed Tuckson: "See, Barack's been, ahh, talking down to black people on this faith-based... I want to cut his nuts out." Jackson was expressing his disappointment in Obama's Father's Day speech chastisement of Black fathers. Only a portion of Jackson's comments were released on video. A spokesman for Fox News stated that Jackson had "referred to blacks with the N-word" in his comments about Obama; Fox News did not release the entire video or a complete transcript of his comments. Subsequent to his Fox News interview, Jackson apologized and reiterated his support for Obama.

On November 4, 2008, Jackson was present at the Obama victory rally, waiting for Obama to appear. In the several moments before Obama spoke, Jackson was in tears.

Two candidates who won the highest number of vote takes two shadow seats.

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Tawana Brawley rape allegations

Tawana Brawley at a press conference in 1987.

Tawana Brawley (b. 1972) is an African American woman from Wappingers Falls, New York. In 1987, at the age of 15, she received national media attention in the US for accusing six white men of rape, some of whom were police officers. The accusations soon earned her notoriety, which was inflamed by Brawley's advisers Reverend Al Sharpton and attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, public officials, and intense media attention. After hearing evidence, a grand jury concluded in October 1988 that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she herself may have created the appearance of an attack. The New York prosecutor whom Brawley accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley and her three advisers for defamation.

Brawley initially received considerable support from the African-American community. Some scholars suggested that Brawley was victimized by biased reporting that adhered to racial stereotypes. The mainstream media's coverage drew heated criticism from the African-American press and leaders for its treatment of the teenager. The outcome of the grand jury decreased support for Brawley and her advisers. Brawley's family has maintained that the allegations were true.

On November 28, 1987, Brawley, who had been missing for four days, was found lying conscious but unresponsive in a garbage bag several feet from an apartment where she had once lived. Her clothing was torn and burned, her body smeared with feces. She was taken to the emergency room, where various slurs and epithets were discovered written on her torso with a black substance described as charcoal.

A detective from the Sheriff's Juvenile Aid Bureau, among others, was summoned to interview Brawley, but she remained unresponsive. The family requested a black officer, which the police granted. Brawley, described as having an "extremely spacey" look on her face, communicated with this officer with nods of the head, shrugs of the shoulder, and written notes. The interview lasted 20 minutes, during which she uttered only one word: "neon." Through gestures and writing, however, she indicated she had been raped repeatedly in a wooded area by three white men, at least one of them a police officer. A sexual assault kit was administered, and police began building a case.

Brawley claimed she had been repeatedly raped by a group of white men but could provide no names or descriptions of her assailants. She later told others that there had been no rape, only other kinds of sexual abuse. Forensic tests found no evidence that a sexual assault of any kind had occurred. Nor was there any evidence of exposure to elements, which would be expected in a victim held for several days in the woods at a time when the temperature dropped below freezing at night.

There were other discrepancies in Brawley's story. On the morning after the alleged abduction, she was seen entering the empty apartment at the Pavilion Apartments where she had once lived. Other witnesses claimed to have seen her at parties in a nearby town during the period when she was said to be missing. She had no bruises, contusions, scratches or other injuries except for a small bruise behind the left ear, which was determined to be several days old. One witness claimed to have seen her climb into the garbage bag in which she was found. Her mother, Glenda Brawley, was spotted at the apartment complex shortly before Brawley was seen getting into the garbage bag. The mother waited until that same afternoon to report Brawley as missing to the police. The investigation turned up evidence that indicated damage done to Brawley's clothing had occurred in the apartment. According to the grand jury report, all of "the items and instrumentalities necessary to create the condition in which Brawley appeared on Saturday, November 28, were present inside of or in the immediate vicinity of Apartment 19A." The feces had come from a neighbor's dog.

Public response to Brawley's story was at first mostly sympathetic. Bill Cosby, among others, pledged support for her and helped raise money for a legal fund. In December 1987, 1,000 people marched through the streets of Newburgh, New York in support of Brawley.

Brawley's claims in the case captured headlines across the country. Public rallies were held denouncing the incident. Racial tensions also climbed. When civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton, with attorneys Alton H. Maddox and C. Vernon Mason, began handling Brawley's publicity, the case quickly took on an explosive edge. At the height of the controversy, public opinion was sharply divided along racial lines on the question of whether the teenager was telling the truth, and on support for her advisers. A June 1988 poll showed a gap of 34 percentage points between blacks (51%) and whites (85%) on the question of whether she was lying.

Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason generated a national media sensation. The three claimed officials all the way up to the state government were trying to cover up defendants in the case because they were white. Specifically, they named Steven Pagones, an Assistant District Attorney in Dutchess County, as one of the rapists, and a racist, among other accusations.

The mainstream media's coverage drew heated criticism from the African-American press and leaders for its treatment of the teenager. They cited the leaking and publication of photos taken of her at the hospital and the revelation of her name despite her being underage.

In addition, critics were concerned that Brawley had been left in the custody of her mother, stepfather and advisers, rather than being given protection by the state, that she was used as a pawn by adults who should have protected her.

Under the authority of New York State Attorney General Robert Abrams, a grand jury was called to hear evidence. On October 6, 1988, the Abrams Grand Jury released its 170-page report concluding Brawley had not been abducted, assaulted, raped and sodomized, as had been claimed by Brawley and her advisers. The report further concluded that the "unsworn public allegations against Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones" were false and had no basis in fact. To issue the report, the Grand Jury heard from 180 witnesses, saw 250 exhibits and recorded more than 6,000 pages of testimony.

In the decision, the grand jury noted many problems with Brawley's story. Among these were that the rape kit results did not indicate sexual assault. Also, despite her claim of having been held captive for days, Brawley was not suffering from exposure, was well nourished, and appeared to have brushed her teeth recently. Despite her clothing being charred, there were no burns on her body. Although a shoe she was wearing was cut through, Brawley had no injuries to her foot. The racial epithets written on her were upside down, which led to suspicion that Brawley wrote the words. Testimony from her schoolmates indicated she had attended a local party during the time of her supposed abduction. One witness claimed to have observed Brawley climbing into the garbage bag. Brawley herself never testified.

Much of the Grand Jury evidence pointed to a possible motive for Brawley's falsifying the incident: trying to avoid violent punishment from her mother and her mother's live-in partner, Ralph King. Witnesses testified that Glenda Brawley had beaten her daughter for running away and for spending nights with boys. King had a history of violence that included stabbing his first wife 14 times, later shooting and killing her. There was considerable evidence that King could and would violently attack Brawley; when Brawley had been arrested on a shoplifting charge the previous May, King attempted to beat her for the offense -- at the police station. Witnesses have also described King as having talked about his stepdaughter in a sexualized manner. On the day of her alleged disappearance, Brawley had skipped school to visit boyfriend Todd Buxton, who was serving a six-month jail sentence. When Buxton's mother (with whom she had visited Buxton in jail) urged her to get home before she got in trouble, Brawley told her, "I'm already in trouble." She described how angry Ralph King was over a previous incident of her staying out late.

In April 1989, New York Newsday published claims by a boyfriend of Brawley's, Daryl Rodriguez, that she had told him the story was fabricated, with help from her mother, in order to avert the wrath of her stepfather.

The case exposed deep distrust in the black community about winning justice from white institutions, and it also showed how some attempted to manipulate the justice system before a full investigation could take place. Some opinions remained fixed. Columbia University law professor Patricia J. Williams wrote in 1991 that the teenager "has been the victim of some unspeakable crime. No matter how she got there. No matter who did it to her— and even if she did it to herself." These comments aroused controversy as well.

Alton H. Maddox, Jr. was indefinitely suspended by the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn on May 21, 1990, after failing to appear before a disciplinary hearing to answer allegations regarding his conduct in the Brawley case.

In 1998, Pagones was awarded $345,000 (he sought $395 million) through a lawsuit for defamation of character that he had brought against Sharpton, Maddox, and Mason. The jury found Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Pagones, Maddox for two, and Mason for one. The jury deadlocked on four of the 22 statements over which Pagones had sued, and eight statements were found non-defamatory. In a later interview, Pagones said the turmoil by the accusations of Brawley and her advisers had cost him his first marriage and much personal grief.

Pagones had also sued Brawley. She defaulted by not appearing at the trial, and the judge ordered her to pay him damages of $185,000. As of 2003, none of the award had been paid. The $65,000 portion of the judgment assigned to Al Sharpton was paid for him in 2001 by supporters, including renowned attorney Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. and former businessman Earl G. Graves, Jr.

Brawley has maintained she did not invent the story and in a 1997 appearance, she still had supporters. In November 2007, Brawley's mother and stepfather, in a 20th anniversary feature for the New York Daily News contended the attack happened. "How could we make this up and take down the state of New York? We're just regular people," Glenda Brawley said, adding, "We should be millionaires." They said they had asked New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and Governor Eliot Spitzer to reopen the case. They also said that Brawley, who has converted to Islam, would speak at any legal proceedings.

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National Action Network

Al Sharpton at National Action Network's headquarters.

The National Action Network is a not-for-profit, civil rights organization founded by the Reverend Al Sharpton in New York City, New York, in early 1991.

In the spirit of the civil rights movement, the National Action Network attempts to address the social and economic injustice experienced by blacks in the United States. The National Action Network, is headquartered in Harlem, New York, but currently has over forty active chapters nationwide.

The organization's Board of Directors, which includes the nation's most influential ministers, is chaired by Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson. The Board of Directors has a tradition of including those most recognized in the civil rights movement, as it was first chaired by Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Pastor Emeritus of Canaan Baptist Church, New York, and former Executive Director to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition to Dr. Walker, the late Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, and her son, Martin Luther King, III, support the organization and participate annually in the Keepers of the Dream Awards Dinner and National Convention.

National Action Network has established chapters in a wide variety of cities throughout the nation. The most recent chapter to be established is in Boston and is headed by Dr. B. J. Smith.

The National Action Network is widely credited with drawing national attention to such critical issues as racial profiling, police brutality, and the US Naval bombing exercises on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. Notably, the organization was prominently involved with the police brutality cases of Amadou Diallo (New York), Abner Louima (New York) and Patrick Dorismond (New York).

In 1999, the organization launched The Madison Avenue Initiative or "MAI", a program designed to address the inequities in the advertising industry. MAI was created after a racially charged memorandum, infamously dubbed, "The Katz Memo", was circulated among certain radio stations, stating that advertisers wanted "prospects, not suspects". The recognition of this memorandum set off an investigation into the spending practices of corporations, specifically examining whether their advertising budgets with African-American and Latino publications and advertising agencies was commensurate with their consumer bases.

In 2000, the organization launched the Truth Hamer Voter Registration and Education Initiative. The Truth Hamer Initiative set out to register one million women to vote, targeting populations in traditionally overlooked areas, such as public housing developments, transitional housing communities and rural areas.

In 2007 the organization launched the Decency Initiative, headed by Tamika Mallory. The Decency Initiative's initial aims are to prohibit the use of three words in music - the "N" word, the "B" word and "ho." On May 3rd, James Brown's birthday Reverend Sharpton, Tamika Mallory, NYC Councilwoman Darlene Mealey and the children of James Brown marched with over 1,000 supporters on several music studios in midtown Manhattan.

Sharpton's organization has been heavily courted by endorsement by presidential candidates including both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. .

The United States and the New York State governments have investigated the organization for tax payment irregularities. As late as 2006 (the most recent year for which documents are available), the National Action Network owes $1.9 million in payroll taxes and penalties.

Recently, many donors to the National Action Network have been subpoenaed as part of the probe, including Anheuser-Busch.

Sharpton has engaged in controversial donation policies — specifically the practice of threatening protests and boycotts of corporations while simultaneously soliciting donations and sponsorships from them. According to the New York Post, several major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch and Colgate-Palmolive, have donated thousands of dollars to the National Action Network. The Post asserted that the donations were made to prevent boycotts or rallies by the National Action Network.

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Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens crop.jpg

Christopher Eric Hitchens (born April 13, 1949) is an author, journalist and literary critic. He has been a columnist at Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, World Affairs, The Nation, Slate, Free Inquiry, and a variety of other media outlets. He currently lives in Washington, D.C.. Hitchens is also a political observer, whose books — the latest being God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything — have made him a staple of talk shows and lecture circuits. In 2009 Hitchens was listed by Forbes magazine as one of the "25 most influential liberals in U.S. media." The same article noted, though, that he would "likely be aghast to find himself on this list" and that he "styles himself a radical", not a liberal.

Hitchens is a polemicist. While he was once identified with the British and American radical political left, he has more recently embraced some arguably centre right causes, notably the Iraq War. Formerly a Trotskyist and a fixture in the left-wing publications of both his native United Kingdom and the United States, Hitchens' departure from the political left began in 1989 after what he called the "tepid reaction" of the European left following Ayatollah Khomeini's issue of a fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie. The September 11, 2001 attacks strengthened his embrace of an interventionist foreign policy, and his vociferous criticism of what he calls "fascism with an Islamic face." In 2007, on his 58th birthday, Hitchens became an American citizen after residing in the US for a quarter century.

Hitchens is known for his ardent admiration of George Orwell, Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson, and for his excoriating critiques of Mother Teresa, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Henry Kissinger, amongst others. He is an anti-theist, and he describes himself as a believer in the Enlightenment values of secularism, humanism and reason. He was recently made a media fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Mr Hitchens is currently writing his memoirs, due for publication in the Spring of 2010 .

Hitchens was educated at the independent The Leys School, Cambridge (his mother arguing that "If there is going to be an upper class in this country, then Christopher is going to be in it"), and Balliol College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics, and economics. During his years as a student at Oxford, he was tutored by Steven Lukes.

Hitchens left Oxford with a third class degree. His first job was with the London Times Higher Education Supplement, where he served as social science editor. Hitchens admits that he hated the job and was later fired from the position, recalling that "I sometimes think if I'd been any good at that job, I might still be doing it." In the 1970s, he went on to work for the New Statesman, where he became friends with, among others, Martin Amis and Ian McEwan. At the New Statesman, he became known as an aggressive left-winger, stridently attacking targets such as Henry Kissinger, the Vietnam War and the Roman Catholic Church. After emigrating to the United States in 1981, Hitchens wrote for The Nation. While at The Nation he penned vociferous critiques of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and American foreign policy in South and Central America.

Hitchens spent part of his early career in journalism as a foreign correspondent in Cyprus. In the past several years, he has continued writing essay-style correspondence pieces from a variety of locales, including Chad, Uganda and the Darfur region of Sudan. He has visited all three countries in the so-called "Axis of Evil": Iraq, Iran and North Korea. His work has taken him to over 60 different countries.

Hitchens regularly contributes literary reviews to the Atlantic Monthly and The New York Times Book Review. One of his books, Unacknowledged Legislation: Writers in the Public Sphere, is a collection of such works. Works he has recently reviewed include Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie; Saturday by Ian McEwan; the D. J. Enright translation of In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust; the Alfred Appel Jr. annotated version of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (whom he named as on a par with James Joyce); John Updike's Terrorist; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and Enemies of Promise. In the 2008 book "Christopher Hitchens and His Critics: Terror, Iraq, and the Left," many literary critiques are included of essays and other books of writers such as David Horowitz and Edward Said.

There is speculation that Hitchens was the inspiration for Tom Wolfe's character Peter Fallow, in the 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities, but others believe it to be Spy Magazine's "Ironman Nightlife Decathlete" Anthony Haden-Guest.

Prior to Hitchens's ideological shift, the American author and polemicist Gore Vidal declared Hitchens his dauphin or heir.

What a truly disgusting sack of shit Hitchens is guy who called Sid Blumenthal one of his best friends and then tried to have him thrown into prison for perjury; a guy who waited his friend Edward Said was on his death bed before attacking him in the Atlantic Monthly; a guy who knows perfectly well the role Israel plays in U.S. policy but who does not scruple to flail Cindy Sheehan as a LaRouchie and Anti-Semite because, maybe, she dared mention the word Israel.

In a recent effusion in the Huffington Post, Cindy Sheehan repeats the lie that her letter to ABC News Nightline was doctored, and says that a colleague of hers inserted the offending words in furtherance of his own "anti-Semitic" agenda. If she regards her own words as anti-Jewish, it's not up to me to correct her. I have not said that she is anti-Jewish, only that she shows a sinister ineptness in handling the wild idea of a PNAC/JINSA pro-Sharon secret government in the United States.

One of ... old strongholds... the 17th-century contest between king and parliament of the English civil war. For Hitchens, the Cromwellian revolt represents not just the foundational struggle for parliamentary rule, but the great rejection of divine right.... But he is no optimistic Enlightenment rationalist. He identifies himself with Thomas Paine's disillusion at the French terror, and Rosa Luxemburg's famous warning to Lenin about the inexorability of one-man rule. He retains, however, from his Marxist youth an intellectual absolutism and a disdain for liberal dilemmas and trade-offs—hence a brutal assault on Isaiah Berlin's genteel liberalism in a 1998 essay. And there is an undertow of violence in his arguments, an inability to empathize. He is, for example, incurious about what religious belief feels like, or what meaning it has for millions of people—even though, unlike his co-anti-religionist Richard Dawkins, Hitchens concedes that religious feeling is ineradicable.

Hitchens did use the term "Islamic Fascism" for an article he wrote for The Nation, shortly after the September 11, 2001, attacks, but this phrase also had an earlier history. For example, it was used in The Washington Post on January 13, 1979; it also appears to have been used by secularists in Turkey and Afghanistan to describe their opponents.

Hitchens also became increasingly disenchanted by the presidency of Bill Clinton, accusing him of being a rapist and a liar. Hitchens also claimed that the missile attacks by Clinton on Sudan constituted a war crime. Although a student at Oxford during the same time as Clinton, he maintains that he has no memory of ever meeting him, although they had mutual friends.

The years after the Rushdie fatwa also saw him looking for allies and friends. In the United States he became increasingly critical of what he called "excuse making" on the left. At the same time, he was attracted to the foreign policy ideas of some on the Republican right, especially the neoconservative group that included Paul Wolfowitz, whom he befriended. Around this time, he also befriended the Iraqi dissident and businessman Ahmed Chalabi. During a debate with George Galloway, Hitchens revealed he is a supporter of Irish reunification, and was critical of the politician's opposing views on the war, as well as his "insulting" attitude towards the US Senate.

In the 1960s Hitchens joined the left, drawn by his anger over the Vietnam war, nuclear weapons, racism and "oligarchy", including that of "the unaccountable corporation". He became a socialist "largely the outcome of a study of history, taking sides ... in the battles over industrialism and war and empire". In 2001, however, he told Rhys Southan of Reason magazine that he could no longer say "I am a socialist". Socialists, he claimed, had ceased to offer a positive alternative to the capitalist system. Capitalism had become the more revolutionary economic system, and he welcomed globalisation as "innovative and internationalist". He suggested that he had returned to his early, pre-socialist libertarianism, having come to attach great value to the freedom of the individual from the state and moral authoritarians.

In 2008, Hitchens has written "I used to call myself a single-issue voter on the essential question of defending civilization against its terrorist enemies and their totalitarian protectors, and on that 'issue' I hope I can continue to expose and oppose any ambiguity".

Hitchens is seen by many as a "liberal hawk" comprising left-leaning commentators who supported the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. This informal grouping includes the British writers Nick Cohen, Johann Hari, David Aaronovitch, Norman Geras, Julie Burchill, and the Canadian Michael Ignatieff (see Euston Manifesto). Neoconservatives of the last decade are hesitant to embrace Hitchens as one of their own, in part because of his harsh criticisms of Ronald Reagan and his refusal to associate himself as such.

Despite his many articles supporting the US invasion of Iraq, Hitchens made a brief return to The Nation just before the 2004 US presidential election and wrote that he was "slightly" for George W. Bush; shortly afterwards, Slate polled its staff on their positions on the candidates and mistakenly printed Hitchens' vote as pro-Kerry. Hitchens shifted his opinion to "neutral", saying: "It's absurd for liberals to talk as if Kristallnacht is impending with Bush, and it's unwise and indecent for Republicans to equate Kerry with capitulation. There's no one to whom he can surrender, is there? I think that the nature of the jihadist enemy will decide things in the end".

In an interview with journalist Johann Hari in 2004, in which Hitchens described himself as "on the same side as the neo-conservatives," he also states that he does not support George Bush per se (still less Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld) but rather allies himself with "pure" neo-conservatives, especially Paul Wolfowitz. Although Hitchens defends Bush’s foreign policy, he has criticized Bush's support of intelligent design.

In contributions to Vanity Fair, Hitchens criticised the Bush administration for its continued protection of Henry Kissinger, whom he called complicit in the human rights abuses of Southern Cone military dictatorships during the 1970s. In 2001, he had published a book, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, on Kissinger's alleged role in the crimes of regimes in South America and Asia. In that book Hitchens accused Kissinger, first as National Security Advisor to President Richard Nixon, and then as Secretary of State to the same president, of either actively participating in or tacitly condoning decisions that would lead to the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities on Bengali Hindus and moderate Muslims in East Pakistan by Pakistani Islamist dictator Yahya Khan. He also asserts that Henry Kissinger, and by extension, the Ford administration, bore direct responsibility for the invasion of East Timor. Hitchens also asserted Kissinger and the Nixon administration's responsibility for the coup that resulted in the overthrow of the Allende government, and installation of Augusto Pinochet as president of Chile.

Hitchens's first book focused on the partition of Cyprus. While Hitchens did not unilaterally support either the Greek or Turkish side of the conflict, he severely criticized Western governments and the Western media for ignoring the Greek Military junta's active support of the EOKA-B — a nationalist, pro-Enosis, Greek Cypriot terrorist organization which ultimately overthrew Greek Cypriot President Archbishop Makarios III. Hitchens argued that this coup d'état, and the political machinations of Nikos Sampson, the new dictator of Cyprus, instigated the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.

Hitchens regarded America's intervention (and that of its allies) in Vietnam as a continuation of European colonialism, betraying the Enlightenment principles of liberal democracy and human emancipation. Hitchens regards the Vietnam War as America's attempt to inherit colonial Indochina from the French empire. Today, he also views it as a betrayal of the principles of the American Revolution.

Hitchens argued that the choice in Yugoslavia was between a multi-ethnic plural democracy led by Muslim president Alija Izetbegović in Bosnia and a fascistic, religiously inspired ethnically-cleansed state driven by Christian Orthodox Yugoslav Communist leader Slobodan Milošević. He has called Milosevic a fascist and a "national-socialist", and considered the Croatian nationalist president Franjo Tudjman "equally detestable". In God Is Not Great, he writes that the crimes of the Roman Catholic Croatian neo-fascists during this period are "often forgotten". He was highly critical of Western inaction against Christian Orthodox Serbian and Roman Catholic Croatian nationalism in protection of the Muslim Bosnians, partially blaming this on the Clinton administration and specifically Hillary Clinton.

In March 2005, Hitchens supported further investigation into voting irregularities in Ohio during the 2004 presidential election.

In January 2006, Hitchens joined with four other individuals and four organizations, including the ACLU and Greenpeace, as plaintiffs in a lawsuit, ACLU v. NSA; challenging Bush's warrantless domestic spying program; the lawsuit was filed by the ACLU. In February 2006, Hitchens helped organize a pro-Denmark rally outside the Danish Embassy in Washington, DC in response to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy.

Over the years, Hitchens has become famous for his scathing critiques of public figures. Three figures — Bill Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Mother Teresa — were the targets of three separate full length texts, No One Left to Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, and The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. Hitchens has also written biographical essays about Thomas Jefferson (Thomas Jefferson: Author of America), George Orwell (Why Orwell Matters) and Thomas Paine (Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man": A Biography). However, the majority of Hitchens's critiques take the form of short opinion pieces, some of the more notable being his critiques of: Jerry Falwell, George Galloway, Mel Gibson, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, Michael Moore, Daniel Pipes, Ronald Reagan, Jesse Helms, and Cindy Sheehan.

Christopher Hitchens is antitheist and antireligious. Hitchens often speaks out against the Abrahamic religions, or what he calls "the three great monotheisms" (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). In his book, God is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens expanded his criticism to include all religions, including those rarely criticized by Western antitheists such as Hinduism and neo-paganism. His main argument is that the concept of God or Supreme Being is a totalitarian belief that destroys individual freedom. His book had mixed reactions, from praise in the New York Times for his "logical flourishes and conundrums" to accusations of "intellectual and moral shabbiness" (The Financial Times). Hitchens told an interviewer that he thinks all educated people should have a knowledge of the Bible. He also claimed to have instructed his children in religious history and that he encouraged his wife to hold a Seder dinner for their daughter.

At the New York Public Library in May 2007, Hitchens debated the Reverend Al Sharpton on the issue of theism and anti-theism, giving rise to a memorable exchange about Mormonism in particular.

Hitchens has been accused by William A. Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Liberties of being particularly anti-Catholic. Hitchens responded, "when religion is attacked in this country the Catholic Church comes in for a little more than its fair share". Hitchens has also been accused of anti-Catholic bigotry by others, including Brent Bozell, Tom Piatak in The American Conservative, and UCLA Law Professor Stephen Bainbridge. When Joe Scarborough on March 12, 2004 asked Hitchens whether he was “consumed with hatred for conservative Catholics”, Hitchens responded that he was not and that he just thinks that “all religious belief is sinister and infantile”. Piatak claimed that “A straightforward description of all Hitchens’s anti-Catholic outbursts would fill every page in this magazine”, noting particularly Hitchens's assertion that U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts should not be confirmed because of his faith.

On April 4, 2009, Hitchens debated Christian philosopher William Lane Craig at Biola University on the topic "Does God Exist?" before both a live and closed circuit audience of over 15,000.

The conflicts in the mideast and ideological war between Islam and the western world has prompted Hitchens's most hawkish stance, which is against Muslim terrorism. While this is part of his much more general anti-theism, he has attracted many critics.

In February 2009 he was physically attacked on Hamra St., West Beirut, after scribbling “No, no, FUCK the SSNP” on a sign erected by the Syrian Social Nationalist Party commemorating party member Khalid Alwan, who killed two Israeli soldiers there in the Wimpy café during the Israeli occupation of Beirut. He was able to escape with relatively minor injury to the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel.

Israel doesn't "give up" anything by abandoning religious expansionism in the West Bank and Gaza. It does itself a favor, because it confronts the internal clerical and chauvinist forces which want to instate a theocracy for Jews, and because it abandons a scheme which is doomed to fail in the worst possible way. The so-called "security" question operates in reverse, because as I may have said already, only a moral and political idiot would place Jews in a settlement in Gaza in the wild belief that this would make them more safe. Of course this hard-headed and self-interested solution of withdrawal would not satisfy the jihadists. But one isn't seeking to placate them. One is seeking to destroy and discredit them. At the present moment, they operate among an occupied and dispossessed and humiliated people, who are forced by Sharon's logic to live in a close yet ghettoised relationship to the Jewish centers of population. Try and design a more lethal and rotten solution than that, and see what you come up with.

Edward Said asked many times, in public and private, where the Mandela of Palestine could be. In rather bold contrast to this decent imagination, Arafat managed to be both a killer and a compromiser (Mandela was neither), both a Swiss bank-account artist and a populist ranter (Mandela was neither), both an Islamic "martyrdom" blow-hard and a servile opportunist, and a man who managed to establish a dictatorship over his own people before they even had a state (here one simply refuses to mention Mandela in the same breath).

In July 2007, the New Statesman printed selected portions of a 1976 piece by Hitchens which they claimed "took a more admiring view of the Iraqi dictator" than his later strong support for ousting Saddam Hussein.

He also described the means through which the Baathist regime rose to power as similar to that of Iran; having crushed any political dissent and notions of an independent Kurdish state.

Hitchens has strongly supported US military actions in Afghanistan, particularly in his "Fighting Words" columns in Slate. Hitchens had been a long term contributor to The Nation, where bi-weekly he wrote his "Minority Report" column.

Following the 9/11 attacks, Hitchens and Noam Chomsky debated the nature of radical Islam and of the proper response to it. On September 24 and October 8, 2001, Hitchens wrote criticisms of Chomsky in The Nation. Chomsky responded and Hitchens issued a rebuttal to Chomsky to which Chomsky again responded. Approximately a year after the 9/11 attacks and his exchanges with Chomsky, Hitchens left The Nation, claiming that its editors, readers and contributors considered John Ashcroft a bigger threat than Osama bin Laden, and were making excuses on behalf of Islamist terrorism; in the following months he wrote articles increasingly at odds with his colleagues. This highly charged exchange of letters involved Katha Pollitt and Alexander Cockburn, as well as Hitchens and Chomsky.

His employment of the term "Islamofascist" and his support for the Iraq War have caused Hitchens's critics to label him a "neoconservative". Hitchens, however, refuses to embrace this designation, insisting that "I am not a conservative of any kind". In 2004, Hitchens stated that neoconservative support for US intervention in Iraq convinced him that he was "on the same side as the neo-conservatives" when it came to contemporary foreign policy issues. He has also been known to refer to his association with "temporary neocon allies".

In a variety of articles and interviews, Hitchens has asserted that British intelligence was correct in claiming that Saddam had attempted to buy uranium from Niger, and that US envoy Joseph Wilson had been dishonest in his public denials of it. He has also pointed to discovered munitions in Iraq that violated U.N. Security Council Resolutions 686 and 687, the cease-fire agreements ending the 1991 Iraq-Kuwait conflict.

In September 2005, Hitchens was named as one of the "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy and Britain's Prospect magazine. An online poll was held which ranked the 100 intellectuals, but the magazine noted that Hitchens' (#5), Chomsky's (#1), and Abdolkarim Soroush's (#15) rankings were partly due to supporters publicising the vote.

In 2007 Hitchens's work for Vanity Fair won him the National Magazine Award in the category "Columns and Commentary". He was a finalist once more in the same category in 2008 for some of his columns in Slate, but lost out to Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone.

He is an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society.

Hitchens was nominated for a National Book Award for God Is Not Great on October 10, 2007.

Hitchens received the 1991 Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.

Hitchens has a daughter, Antonia, with his wife Carol Blue, whom he married in 1991. Hitchens has two children, Alexander and Sophia, by a previous marriage in 1981 to Eleni Meleagrou, a Greek Cypriot, whom Hitchens divorced in 1989 while she was pregnant with his second child.

In an article in the Guardian Unlimited on April 14, 2002, Hitchens says he is Jewish because Jewish descent is matrilineal. According to Hitchens, when his brother, Peter Hitchens, took his new bride to meet their maternal grandmother, Dodo, who was then in her 90s, Dodo said, "She's Jewish, isn't she?" and then announced: "Well, I've got something to tell you. So are you." She said that her real surname was Levin, not Lynn, and that her ancestors were Blumenthals from Poland. According to The Observer of 14 April 2002, Christopher "insists that he is Jewish," and explored the issue in depth in the title essay of his book Prepared for the Worst.

In a column he wrote for the Los Angeles Times on February 9, 2006, Hitchens wrote, "my grandmother told me as an adult that both she and my mother were Jewish, and it sent me looking for my forebears on the German-Polish border". Peter Hitchens disputes that the brothers have significant Jewish ancestry, arguing that "they are only one 32nd Jewish". Nonetheless, according to Halakha, Jewish maternal lineage guarantees one to legally be considered a "full-blooded" Jew, regardless of the father's ethnicity or religion.

Hitchens's younger brother by two-and-a-half years, Peter Hitchens, is a socially conservative journalist, author and critic. The brothers had a protracted falling-out after Peter wrote that Christopher had once joked that he "didn't care if the Red Army watered its horses at Hendon" (a suburb of London). Christopher denied having said this and broke off contact with his brother. He then referred to his brother as "an idiot" in a letter to Commentary, and the dispute spilled into other publications as well. Christopher eventually expressed a willingness to reconcile and to meet his new nephew; shortly thereafter the brothers gave several interviews together in which they said their personal disagreements had been resolved, although a recent review of Christopher's book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Peter appears to have re-ignited the debate. This, however, did not stop them both appearing on the June 21, 2007 edition of BBC current affairs discussion show Question Time. The pair engaged in a formal televised debate for the first time on April 3, 2008, at Grand Valley State University.

Hitchens became a United States citizen on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, on his fifty-eighth birthday, April 13, 2007.

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Source : Wikipedia