Sooner or later we knew that Kevin L. Martin of Project 21 would have to come in and tell his side of the story regarding his participation in the white supremacist forum organized by Marcus Epstein's Robert Taft Club back in August of 2006. He has already done so earlier this month when we wrote about how conservative propagandist James O'Keefe participated in this forum. However O'Keefe chief defender Andrew Breitbart and other conservatives routinely bring up Martin to downplay the kind of event it was. Now when all of this originally came out, this was more of a debate about what role O'Keefe played in the forum, a mere participant or someone who helped out during the event. Now we see an attempt to whitewash the whole thing - and that's not going to happen. DLJ writes again about Andrew Breitbart's quest to save his dying media "empire" from the sad, sad fact that he hitched his horse to a very racist cart. You would think that someone who is not a racist would be able to unhitch that horse rather easily, but alas, we might not be talking about that kind of someone. As you can see from this picture of DLJ and Kevin Martin enjoying each other's company in 2007 however, there are things out there that just might make that horse buckle a bit…
Daryle Lamont Jenkins, One People's Project
Little Andy Breitbart is in damage control right now. The controversies surrounding his boy James O'Keefe is bad enough, but after his performance at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), he is seen even more as an unhinged buffoon that respectable folks should stay away from. He thinks he can beat all of this back by putting out as much propaganda that he can to try and discredit me, writer Max Blumenthal or anyone else that has written about O'Keefe and the racist Robert A. Taft forum he attended in 2006. And of course a lot of conservative media types, especially the bloggers who for some reason think that the CPAC video of me and Breitbart helps him (!) are going to fall in line to help it along.
The problem however is when the story ventures out of conservative circles, they run into an obstacle: reality. The public knows that conservatives will rail against racist charges against any white person that doesn't have a "D" next to their name. They do it just as much as they attack Blacks and Hispanics for being racist for making some remark that they spin into something that it is not. Oh, and let's not forget how Robert Byrd is excoriated for being a Klansman sixty years ago (even though it didn't matter until they had to find a way to defend Trent Lott from a racist charge), and Harry Reid for his recent comments about Barack Obama - in his support for Obama's successful campaign to become the first African American President of the United States.
So conservative carping doesn't mean a thing to me. It's expected, and it's not taken seriously. Some among that number are listening to both sides and to them I tip my hat. Others are too caught up in the activism, and they can go down in flames with it. Still, it is incumbent upon me to deal with issues as they come up. If something I say needs to be clarified, than so be it. That's why I think I had better respond to this Kevin Martin thing. To be honest, it is very curious how he is approaching the issue. In his article on Breitbart.com, he says that in our April 2007 meeting (I will get to that in a minute), I was "trying to convince me that any black conservative is a tool or shill that is being used by racists, corporations, and right-wing fringe movements to gain creditability for themselves." These days, I have pulled back from that a bit, but it doesn't help matters much when we cut to today and find him playing that role. But never mind that for now.
The main issue that he was addressing in his article was my assertion that he was a last minute addition to the 2006 forum. In his article, he writes:
"David Almasi, who is the national director for Project 21, which is under the National Center for Public Policy Research, contacted me via voicemail about the Leadership Institute's desire to have a black panelist speak on a forum they were sponsoring on "Race and Conservatism." Because I was working nights at the time, Marcus Epstein and I played phone tag for about two weeks before I was finally able to contact him. Marcus extended the institute's invite to me personally and told me of the forum's rules-these included a 15-minute speech by each of the speakers and Q&A for those in the crowd."
Well, on Aug. 20, 2006, this was posted in the "Alerts" section of our website's sidebar:
LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE TO HOST DISCUSSION ON RACE...AND IF IT IS IN THIS BLOCK, YOU KNOW SOMETHING IS UP!
ARLINGTON, VA-- We have to refer you to this article we had written last year about the Leadership Institute and how they are using their money to fund right-wing university publications and organizations, in this case Rutgers University's Centurion. We were set off by the racist overtones their Feb. 2005 issue displayed, and given the kind of people they were working with we were not surprised all that much. Well, a week from this Thursday, the Leadership Insitiute hosts a "forum" sponsored by a so-called "libertarian" group called the Robert A. Taft Club, named after a union-busting senator and the leading opponent of Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal. The topic of their forum is titled "Race and Conservatism", and they want to discuss how conservatives should handle the issue of race. Here's what they say:
"There are few topics more sensitive than race, and conservatives have often shied away from discussing it directly. After Trent Lott's praise of Strom Thurmond's presidential run, a number of commentators implied that the GOP and conservatives have consistently winked and nodded at racists with code words and Willie Hortons. Race is clearly below the surface on a number of issues important to conservatives such as crime, busing, affirmative action, immigration. How should these topics be dealt with? Should race be a consideration in immigration policy? Should the GOP (and conservatives in general) appeal to hispanics, African Americans, and other minority groups? Should the factors of temperament and IQ be addressed when discussing affirmative action, poverty, and crime? Are those factors genetic or environmental?"
And who do they have on board to answer these questions? Well, the first person they managed to confirm was American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor. The second person is John Derbyshire, a contributing editor of the National Review whose writings have revealed a intense hatred for Asians - even though his wife is Chinese - not to mention homosexuals. These two are best known for their promotion of the junk science of eugenics, and that might be the reason why someone out the Arlington way is pissed off enough to send us this info to share with everyone. Well consider yourself alerted, antifa of the DC area. The Leadership Institute is at 1101 N. Highland St., Arlington, VA 22201 The forum is from 7:00-9:00 PM
So here we are, eleven days until the forum, and no mention of Kevin Martin, but with the phone tagging he says went on, it would work with the timeline. I can even ignore the Aug. 28, 2006 posting on the white supremacist website Stormfront announcing this forum. That was two days before the forum (Epstein had moved it up a day), and still no mention of Martin, but it can be argued that the person posting there simply did not know that Martin was added. I will say however, that even if Epstein and Martin were indeed corresponding up until the last minute to put him on the forum, it will still mark a particular trivia point for the Robert A. Taft Club. The organization has had several events before and after this forum, and we have yet to see any other time where an African American has participated in any of them except one - this one. The one that One People's Project and reportedly the Southern Poverty Law Center called attention to.
The Robert A. Taft Club had been promoting this forum since July of 2006, and in their earlier announcements Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, was announced as a participant - with others to be announced. Clegg's name was eventually removed without explanation. That would suggest he became one of several conservatives noted as having misgivings about the forum. Jared Taylor was always on the bill, and John Derbyshire came sometime in August. Again, Kevin Martin wasn't announced until it was close to the day. As an interesting note, Martin was the only one on the panel that wasn't wearing a suit. In fact, he might have been the only one in the room that was in casual dress. After two weeks of phone tag I guess he was the only one who wasn't told it was a suit-and-tie affair, but with all the hoopla today it just makes it look as though he wasn't notified in time.
And while we are at it, let us not forget that the Leadership Institute - who we can assure you there is no love lost between us and them - also raised an eyebrow about the event. It was originally supposed to be held in its building, but interestingly enough was told that it would have to go elsewhere and Epstein found a room in a building of a nearby law school.
So here's the deal: Very few people, if any, knew that Martin was going to be on the panel that day. There was not a lot of promotion prior to the event saying so. If in fact that it was indeed a matter of trying to get things set up all that time, I thank Martin for clearing that up, and I am more than happy to let it go. What I want to know however is why the hell there is so much of an effort to whitewash the entire forum, warts and all.
Breitbart is banking on the fact that very few people even heard of this forum or its participants until a few weeks ago. Those that otherwise knew of this forum before our story are quite aware of what it was about. They know that the organizer has a rather interesting history with white supremacists, and had to plead guilty to a 2007 assault on a black woman in the Georgetown area of Washington, DC while calling her the N-Word. They know Jared Taylor and his rather storied white supremacist career. They know that the audience boasted an almost exclusively white supremacist crowd. They know that the forum was recorded, but only the 15 minute speeches of Taylor and his contemporary John Derbyshire are available online, while that of Kevin Martin is not. They know that there were only a few outlets that reported on the forum at the time, One People's Project, the hate site VDARE and various white supremacist websites. They know that no one except the persons that have been previously mentioned have come forward to say they were at this event. They know that other, more respectable conservatives kept their distance from it. Finally, they know that despite how much James O'Keefe has remained in the public eye since his January arrest that he has not publicly spoken on this story.
Andy Breitbart was not there. One People's Project was. We'll go with our judgement, not that of someone who has articles on his website describing Taylor merely as someone "with a track record of making racist statements", has those articles being published on Taylor's website and that of other white supremacist sites, and has reciprocated by being the only outlet other than white supremacist sites who published Taylor's press release lamenting the cancellation of the American Renaissance Conference last weekend.
What bothers the hell out of me is the fact that Martin is better than this - or so I thought. As he noted, and as I noted earlier, we met in April 2007. We used to spar back and forth on the internet forums for years, him using the handle (which he also used on Free Republic) "Trueblackman" - a pretty ballsy handle by the way for someone who tries to tell everyone else to get beyond race. We had a dinner meeting at a Thai restaurant in Union Station in Washington, DC while I was covering the anti-immigration "Hold Your Feet to the Fire" conference of that week that was put on by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). It was a good conversation, no sniping back and forth, no anger at all actually. The only real disagreement was when I predicted that the then-faltering Sen. John McCain was going to get the GOP nomination next year. Martin thought McCain didn't stand a chance. When, as he noted, the issue went to how black conservatives were tools or shills being used by racists and other elements of the right, that was said in relation to the FAIR conference. There was a group that was sauntering about the conference that was organized by FAIR and geared towards recruiting Black Americans into the anti-immigration cause. To this day, I find it laughable to watch white conservatives rally around a group called "Choose Black America". White conservatives must have thought it was laughable too. The group didn't last too long after the conference.
The thing that Martin curiously neglected to note was how this meeting came about. It was set up by a friend of his, a local photographer who many know these days as "Isis"! Yeah, THAT Isis! The Isis that was at the 2006 forum that snapped James O'Keefe's photo there. She was actually surprised to see Martin at that forum, and let's just say that his assessment of the forum then was vastly different than the one he is giving us now, and in fact it was what led to our meeting eight months later. We parted ways after that day and we never saw each other again. Isis even lost contact with him. We didn't even think he was still active in politics until these articles from him allowing himself to be used by Breitbart & Co. started to get posted. Am I surprised? No. Politics is a shady beast in Washington. Am I disappointed in him? That's not even the word. I could say something about how he sold out his people, but that's not even it. He sold out a friend. Isis saw he did not like being at that forum and was there for him. Now, she feels betrayed.
And that's that. Andy Breitbart continues to, as I said in the video, look like an ass, which I guess works for him. His supporters will continue to buy it. One People's Project will continue its mission of exposing the racists trying to run things, no matter how much they try to conceal their intentions, thinking they are fooling everyone. Kevin Martin may still be used to that end, but as we have seen in the past it is not going to work. We have seen people of color embrace racists before, so propping a black person up to absolve a racist of sin is going to be seen as even more of an insult. But that's what these people do. The racism issue is a real one, and one that this particular element among conservatives is most culpable of. They have been caught, and they are going to continue to spin themselves dizzy, call everyone names and throw temper tantrums at prominent conventions.
Then they will go away.