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Blog: #White Privilege Uber Alles*

Political Corruption That Further Criminal Enterprises Leave A Legacy Of White Privilege

* Über Alles is the German phrase found in the German national anthem until the end of World War II. The phrase means "above all else" Über Alles and is associated with Nazism.

Eugene Stovall

Oakland, California, September, 2017

When actor Donald Trump accused President Barak Obama of not being an American, while President Donald Trump called for the firing of ESPN commentator, Jemele Hill, for branding him a racist, the president was asserting white privilege. When US policymakers call North Korea and Iran rogue nations for developing nuclear capabilities, while the US houses ___ and uses ___ the greatest nuclear arsenal and weapons of mass destruction anywhere in the world, US policymakers are asserting their white privilege. When a white cop vows while chasing a black motorist, “I’m gonna kill that nigger!” and when the car chase ends the cop murders the black man shooting him five times at point blank range and then plants a gun in the black man’s car so he can claim self defense and is exonerated by a white judge, that is how America’s judicial system supports white privilege.

America routinely sends uniformed and plain clothes assassins around the world to murder any non-white leaders and opinion makers who white folks don’t like. America’s campaign of international terrorism is method of maintaining white privilege. George Bush’s policy of American exceptionalism was his justification for imposing white privilege on Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush and his Skull and Bones brethren believed that white people had the right to ignore the rule of law and civilized behavior in their dealings with non-white peoples, anywhere in the world.

White privilege is nothing more than greed. And greed has always made friendly bedfellows of politicians and gangsters.

Boston Brahmins: Gangsters, Politicians & White Privilege

In 1826, an elegant gentleman with a full head of white hair sat at his desk drafting a letter to his nephew and business partner currently residing in the Chinese port city of Canton. Thomas Handasyd Perkins needed to inform John Pershing Cushing that a fleet of merchant ships carrying more than 150,000 pounds ___ seventy-five tons ___ of Turkish opium was on its way to China. Perkins instructed his nephew that once the opium arrived he should smuggle only small quantities to the Chinese officials that Perkins had lined up to operate his opium dens that dotted the Chinese coast. A year after the Turkish opium arrived in China, Perkins and Company reported earnings of over $25 million to its investors.

By defying the legal prohibition against drug trafficking issued by the emperor, Thomas Perkins and his brother James became America’s largest exporters of opium to China. When Perkins ships returned to Boston from China they were loaded with teas, porcelain and silk. Thomas and James Perkins’ illegal drug trade amassed fortunes for themselves as well as their entire family ___ in-laws, nephews and cousins. With their wealth, the Perkins family formed the nucleus of the elites who became known as the Boston Brahmins. Other Brahmins, including the Cabots, Cushings, Welds, Delanos ___ the grandfather of Franklin Delano Roosevelt ____ and Forbes, also profited from the drug trade. Ultimately, the Boston Brahmins established their domination over the entire American society that has lasted to the present day. America’s elites dominated by the Brahmins is fueled by greed and held together by the bond of white privilege.

Thomas Perkins invested his drug money in mills, iron manufacturing and railroads. Perkins' nephew, John Murray Forbes, invested his opium profits in steamships, mines as well as railroads. Before long because the Boston Brahmins owned a significant percentage of America’s industrial base, dominating the economy with their control of the New York Stock Exchange as well as the Republican Party. So when the Emperor of China began to forcefully cut off the Brahmins lucrative opium trade, Perkins called on another relative, Caleb Cushing, for support.

Caleb Cushing was an active Mason and Democrat. Before being elected to Congress, Cushing had served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The Brahmins petitioned President John Tyler to appoint Caleb Cushing US ambassador to China ___ which he did.

As America’s Chinese ambassador, Caleb Cushing took command of a sizable fleet of American warships. After first consulting with British officials in Malta and Bombay, Cushing sailed to China and demanded an audience with the Chinese emperor. When the emperor refused to receive him, Cushing decided to take aggressive action. The British had informed Cushing that the Chinese government could not match the firepower of his armada. So Cushing ordered his warships to sail into Canton Bay and destroy the Chinese port facilities. The American attack was so devastating that the Chinese emperor was forced to capitulate and sign a treaty allowing the Boston mob to resume and expand their Chinese drug trade. The principle of white privilege was forcefully implemented.

Robber Barons: The Greedy Class

The Gilded Age was the time when greed spawned a class of mobsters known as robber barons. The robber barons used graft, corruption and violence to gain monopolistic control over America’s natural resources and public utilities. Getting his start smuggling opium into China for Perkins and Company, John Jacob Astor began to trade cheap trinkets to the Indians for valuable furs. Astor built his American Fur Company into million-dollar monopoly by manipulating the European fur market using favorable laws and trade agreements obtained with the help of his Brahmin contacts. Others followed Astor’s example. In their unwavering pursuit of wealth and power, the robber barons subjected large segments of the population to dangerous and squalid living conditions, unsanitary waste and garbage dumps and conditions that malnourished and starved great segments of the population. Child labor was rampant and widows and orphans lived on the street begging and thieving in order to survive. Gangsters such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jay Cooke, James Buchanan Duke, Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, Charles M. Schwab, Henry Morrison Flagler, Charles Crocker, Henry Clay Frick, Jay Gould and Leland Stanford became the subjects of ‘muckrakers’ like Frank Norris, Upton Sinclair and Lincoln Steffens. During the Gilded Age the Masons, Democratic Party and Ku Klux Klan all gained immense popularity among the majority of white Americans. Picnics ____ pick a nigger to lynch ___ became a popular Sunday afternoon diversion.

Big City Reaction Against The Robber Barons

In response to the rule of the robber barons, Democratic Party bosses emerged to seize control over America’s big cities. With few exceptions, these bosses were as corrupt as the robber barons and Brahmins. Abe Ruef seized control of San Francisco and Tom Pendergast controlled Kansas City. It was the Pendergast machine that made the Ku Klux Klansman, Harry Truman, a US Senator and positioned the man, who ordered two atomic bombs dropped on Japan, to become the 33rd President of the United States.

Huey Long became the ‘Kingfish’ of New Orleans. Huey Long messianic populism appealed to masses of people not only in Louisiana, but also all over the US. Long echoed the resentment felt by many depression-era Americans who believed that wealthy plutocrats ___ who included Roosevelt ___ were still making their fortunes while the majority of the American people were still suffering the effects of the great Depression ___ the economic calamity that the Brahmins and robber barons engineered to protect their empires. After his election to US Senate, Huey Long rejected Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. New Orleans’ Kingfish planned to run against Roosevelt for president in 1936 on a program guaranteeing every American citizen a minimum annual income. Launching his campaign organization, Huey Long announced his Share-Our-Wealth Plan, a radical redistribution of wealth through a confiscatory tax that would deprive the Brahmins and robber barons of their ill-gotten wealth. Huey Long never got the opportunity to implement his Share-Our-Wealth Plan. The Kingfish was assassinated in 1935.

Huey Long was an exception to most of the bosses challenging the robber barons. New York’s William Tweed was the prototypical political boss and his Tammany Hall was the most successful political machine in American history. Neither Boss Tween nor Tammany Hall were interested in any share the wealth plan. Bosses seized power in Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia and St. Louis. Bosses dispensed appointments, granted city contracts and filled elective offices. The boss rewarded loyalty and punished betrayal; the boss concocted schemes and negotiated deals. The boss usually avoided publicity because everyone who was anyone knew who was the Boss. One of the most infamous of these bosses and political machines, where crime and politics were indistinguishable, was found in Chicago.

Chicago: Home Of The Mob

“Chicago is unique. It is the only completely corrupt city in America.”

- Charles Merriam, unsuccessful mayoral candidate in 1911

From the time of the Gilded Age, Chicago’s political machine and patronage system guaranteed that city would never have a completely honest mayor. Chicago’s politics revolved around saloons, gambling dens and houses of prostitution. Taverns and saloons were everywhere. Not only were saloons social hangouts, they were the only places that provided free public restroom facilities. As a result, these hangouts served as the principle recruiting grounds for Chicago’s political machines.

Chicago’s lack of law enforcement gave mobsters control of city hall. In the late 1800s, Chicago had one policeman for every 20,000 residents. When an election changed the city administration, the new administration replaced all the policemen. Police salaries were so low that most policemen took bribes to supplement their income. Al Capone once claimed that he had 60% of Chicago’s police on his payroll.

In his book, The Gambler King Of Clark Street, Richard Lindberg describes how Michael McDonald, Chicago’s Democratic Party leader, fused Chicago’s criminal underworld with the city administration. McDonald operated his crime syndicate e for over 30 years until his death in 1907. “The Store” McDonald’s saloon and gambling house became the headquarters for Chicago’s criminal syndicate built on graft, bribery, and intimidation. After McDonald’s death, Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin took over Chicago’s integrated crime syndicate and political machine. By establishing an additional 200 brothels and bordellos, Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John expanded their criminal operation into Southside Chicago. Hinky Dink’s Everleigh Club became the most famous brothel in the world until it closed in 1911.

It was also in 1911 that the good times ended for Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John. That was the year that Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John learned they had competition when bodies began turning up on Chicago’s streets. Rumors circulated that an organization known as the Black Hand was responsible for the murders. The Black Hand was extorting protection money from Chicago’s Italian immigrants. Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John didn’t want competition so they directed one of their Italian bordello operators, Diamond Jim Colosimo, to bring the Black Hand into their crime syndicate. Diamond Jim imported, a killer from New York, Johnny Torrio and instructed the killer to ‘whack’ the Black Hand leadership and inform the gang’ street thugs that Diamond Jim Colosimo was their new boss. Torrio carried out his instructions without a hitch. But he didn’t stop there.

After eliminating the Black Hand leadership, Johnny Torrio convinced Diamond Jim that they no longer needed either Hinky Dink Kenna or Bathhouse John Coughlin. Torrio proposed that Diamond Jim take over the entire Chicago crime syndicate. With Diamond Jim’s blessing, Johnny went to work. Soon the former pimp from a Southside bordello became sole boss of Chicago. But Johnny Torrio still wasn’t finished.

Once the Chicago crime syndicate was firmly under his control, Johnny Torrio decided he no longer needed Diamond Jim. Torrio sent for Alphonse Capone and told the New York killer, known as Scarface, to get rid of Diamond Jim Colosimo. By the time the Prohibition era began, Johnny Torrio was the boss of Chicago. With the muscle, contacts and influence of the Chicago mob at his disposal, Johnny Torrio prepared to take advantage of the opportunity to build a multi-billion dollar bootlegging operation that Prohibition offered ____ until Al Capone decided that he no longer needed Johnny Torrio.

Big Bill Thompson The Mob’s Mayor

Though he moved to Chicago at an early age, Big Bill Thompson was born in Boston to parents closely connected to the Brahmins. Bill Thompson served as mayor of Chicago from 1915 until 1931 and, like most of Chicago's policemen, Big Bill was permanently ‘on the take.’ Big Bill made certain that gangsters like Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin, Johnny Torrio and Al Capone had little to fear from the law. When Thompson sought reelection in 1927, he promised to end all police harassment of ‘thirsty working people.’ “When I’m elected we will not only reopen places the police have closed, but we’ll open ten thousand new ones…. No copper will invade your home and fan your mattress for a hip flask,” Big Bill promised. Capone contributed a quarter of a million dollars to Thompson’s campaign and Thompson won by a landslide.

While Big Bill Thompson made it easy for the Chicago mob to take advantage of Prohibition, another opportunist also saw the possibilities that Chicago offered to cash in on the multi-million dollar bootlegging business. Joseph P. Kennedy, also from Boston, found that he could do business with Mayor Bill Thompson and mob boss Johnny Torrio. In fact, Joe Kennedy found Chicago’s political climate so conducive to his liquor business interests that he purchased Chicago’s largest building, the Chicago Merchandise Mart, for his headquarters.

Joe Kennedy, Prohibition and the Chicago Mob

In the late 19th century, Patrick Joseph Kennedy and his numerous relatives dominated Boston’s Irish community. The Kennedy clan was so numerous that they controlled Boston’s Democratic Party. P.J. Kennedy ____ Joe Kennedy’s father ____ owned three saloons and, more importantly, he owned a whisky import house. P.J. Kennedy used his whiskey profits, with the help of his Brahmin contacts, to purchase a mining company and a bank. P.J. Kennedy’s talent for back room dealing with the ‘eastern establishment’ earned him a seat first in the Massachusetts House of Representatives then in the Massachusetts Senate.

On October 7, 1914, P.J. Kennedy’s son, Joe, married Rose Elizabeth Fitzgerald, the eldest daughter of Boston mayor and former congressman, John F. “Honey Fitz” Fitzgerald. The marriage was heralded as the joining America’s most prominent Irish catholic families. Even before his death in 1929, P.J. Kennedy passed all of his political contacts and economic resources on to his son, Joseph P. Kennedy.

In 1920, the Eighteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution banned the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol for consumption. But Joe Kennedy saw Prohibition as an enormous business opportunity. Joe Kennedy saw the potential in selling and distributing of illegal alcohol in the same way Thomas Perkins saw the selling and distribution of opium in China. No one was more prepared to reap the profits from Prohibition. And Chicago was the ideal place to set up his operation.

Before Prohibition, Joe Kennedy operated his father’s saloons in Boston, importing his whiskey from Canada and England. During Prohibition, Kennedy used his Canadian and English connections, Chicago’s favorable political climate, access to a network of saloons, gambling houses and bordellos as well as connections to the New York mob to build an international bootlegging empire. Kennedy transported shiploads alcohol purchased from distillers in Canada, England and Scotland to the St. Pierre and Miquelon islands. smuggled Kennedy’s liquor from these North Atlantic islands into the United States. Joe Reinfeld and Abner “Longy” Zwillman were mobsters, who worked for Lucky Luciano, Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky. Joe Kennedy and the ‘mob’ supplied ‘good’ liquor to blue chip customers all over the United States.

The consequences of Joe Kennedy’s bootlegging empire were an unparalleled level of criminality and disrespect for the law. There was such a complete corruption of police officers, judges as well as politicians not merely in Chicago but all over the United States that the it became a significant cause for the collapse of the stock market and the economic miseries caused by the great depression. Kennedy’s criminal empire ushered in the era of total greed coupled to white privilege. From his headquarters in Merchandise Mart, Kennedy’s billion dollar bootlegging empire made Chicago the capital of organized crime. Eventually the criminality of the Republican ‘eastern establishment’ and the Democratic ‘new deal’ led the United States into a war that killed 20 million people. From one point of view, WWII was fought to maintain white privilege, uber alles*. And in many ways that war is continuing to be fought.