Number 23 - January 2, 2003
|Reports from the war on Milwaukee's
Bling bling politics for the young
The drug money trail, past and present
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our inaugural issue, April 5, The Black Commentator has warned that
the Right is determined to invent an "alternative" African
American leadership. This sophisticated strategy of subversion and cooptation
was the brainchild of the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation, which
has played the leading role in formulating the Republican Party's domestic
social agenda. Welfare "reform," private school vouchers and
faith-based contracting of social services are all products of Bradley
and its sister foundations and affiliated think tanks. On Black-related
issues, they are Bush and Cheney's brains.
also hatched, bankrolled and foisted upon the public a host of Black-staffed
organizations to front the Right's political positions. Corporate media
provided instant legitimacy to the alternative hirelings, creating the
appearance of Black political polarization where none previously existed.
A Black peanut gallery in support of Republican policies was conjured
out of thin air - and many millions of foundation dollars.
tank-corporate media machinery then began direct intervention in African
American electoral politics, fielding and funding its own candidates
in majority-Black territory. In the space of one campaign season, they
replaced two members of the Congressional Black Caucus and nearly won
City Hall in Newark, New Jersey. More insidiously, they have to some
degree succeeded in moving the Black political conversation, if not
rightward, then into areas of unproductive nonsense and distractions
- which suits the Right's purposes just as well.
Bush is about to infest Black America with his faith-based contracting
initiatives, to summon forth a corrupt class of clergy and social service
providers beholden to the GOP - the actual infrastructure for an alternative,
malleable Black political base. The federal treasury will fertilize
the fields of bribery and patronage seeded by Bradley, Scaife, Walton
and the rest, bringing to full fruition the project begun in Milwaukee
less than a decade ago.
Pat Gowens writes
to us from the belly of the beast. She is editor of Mother
Warriors Voice in the Bradley Foundation's company town.
Here at the Welfare
Warriors we've been warning everyone that the Bush faith-based initiatives
are not what they seem, but rather ways to get yet one more group
of potential allies to sell out, and join in, the war on the poor.
Your commentary added some clarification and expansion that we hadn't
faith-based bribery legislation will re-emerge with a vengeance
in both houses of Congress. It is by far the most ambitious plan
ever devised to destroy the Black political consensus. As we wrote
last week in "Trent
Lott Furor Threatens Faith-based Bribery Scheme":
connected churches are to be awarded federal contracts to perform
social services, setting in motion a permanent patronage system
tied to the party that made the payments possible - the GOP. Ministerial
allegiances would be expected to change, overnight, splintering
the Black voting bloc.
funded by the right-wing Milwaukee Bradley foundation, welfare deform
experimented on privatizing public benefits administration by providing
multi-million dollar welfare contracts to both private corporations
(Maximus and Goodwill) as well as "non-profits" (YWCA, UMOS,
OIC and many more) who quickly created "for-profit" branches
to accommodate the millions in profits. The Bradley Plan combined
greed and prejudice to perfection, increasing African American infant
mortality in Milwaukee by 37% each year since the deform began.
(Welfare corporations specialize in illegal denials, terminations,
and sanctions against a powerless population of mostly single moms
and children, as well as racial profiling in denial of time extensions,
job opportunities and imposition of sanctions.) At the same time this
plan successfully silenced most non-profits who may have previously
aligned with the disenfranchised, since the non-profits now received
some type of government funds.
Then the Bradley
Plan required the corporate welfare agencies to advertise their nay-saying
welfare "jobs programs" in local media - African American,
Latino, and "alternative" white media. As a result the small
community publications joined the corporate media in their silence
about this brutal attack on poor families and they began to regularly
publish republicrat welfare propaganda. No longer could the activist
mamas or any other activist groups receive coverage in these presses.
The staff on one community paper recently debated printing an announcement
of the Welfare Warriors Summer Fair for fear the state would
pull the plug on their lucrative ads!
After wiping out
non-profit and non-corporate media allies, the Bush plan now aims
to persuade the churches to sell out as well, leaving the poor very
much alone and in danger. Your article clarifies the divide-and-conquer
strategy inherent in this faith-based plan, a strategy used successfully
worldwide by wealthy euro-colonizers. Thank you for your analysis.
Now how do we expose and stop it?
explores that question in "Defunding
The Right Rev. Dr. Greedygut," in this issue.
Peter Abbott also
hails from Milwaukee, and has seen the beast up-close.
You might want
to consider another dimension of this GOP-church collaboration-in-corruption:
the lobbying campaign by right-wing churches to eliminate the law
prohibiting tax-exempt religious organizations from endorsing candidates.
That would complete the circle: a GOP-dominated government could fund
the conservative clergy, and they could return the favor by endorsing
Mr. Abbott understands
well how webs are spun.
A third Milwaukeean,
Daniel Pryzbyla, testifies to the political death grip in which Bradley
holds the city.
You provide an
excellent alternative to what has become a very lethal Black Trojan
Horse in right wing politics. For Milwaukeeans, the Bradley Foundation
has taped the mouths shut of the local Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
newspaper, its reporters, politicians (white and African American,
Latino) and yes, sadly, the 3 African American weekly newspapers.
It would be good
to see an African American perspective of the No Child Left Behind
education act (high stakes testing) as it is being used to dismantle
both central city and poor rural (very often in the South) public
schools. You are absolutely correct that Bradley, et al are using
the poor African American communities to get their foot in the door
to increase the scope to middle class areas of public schools to increase
both private and religious education to this population.
As we reported in
our November 14 issue ("Bush
Funds Black Voucher Front Group"), the Bradley-birthed Black
Alliance for Education Options became a federal contractor in October,
recipients of a $600,000 grant to dispense "pro-school choice"
propaganda under - the No Child Left Behind Education Act! Bush's Education
Department has subverted the legislation to its own political purposes.
Similarly, five federal departments stand poised to fund White House
sanctioned faith-based projects, should GOP leadership and Senator Joseph
Lieberman's Democratic Leadership Council prevail in this session of
Congress. The alarm bells that rang out in Milwaukee now toll for the
The Black Commentator
is blessed with a brilliant readership. Our three letter writers from
Milwaukee have, from their distinct perspectives, effectively constructed
a compelling article on the Hard Right's New Black Strategy. Our thanks
to Pat Gowens, Peter Abbott and Daniel Pryzbyla. There's still plenty
of fight left in Milwaukee.
Lost in the bling
The Right treats
alienation among Black youth as yet another opportunity for political
devilment. African American young people, say the corporate talkers,
are estranged from the old, "civil rights-oriented" leadership,
and are open to a more "pragmatic" and "independent"
brand of politics. Desperately wanting to believe the hype, that their
unarticulated, age-based perspectives are better guides than the concrete
lessons of their own people's history, too many young Blacks wallow
in the life-style merchants' flattery. Last week, in "Hip
Hop and the Hard Right," we wrote:
Like no previous
age/race cohort, a large chunk of the hip-hop generation has been
made to believe that they need do nothing to merit attention and praise;
simply being part of their age and ethnic group - the hyper-valued
demographic - is enough. Corporate marketers have relentlessly taught
them so. Thus, Black youth embrace their own commodification, basking
under the corporate marketer's loving gaze, believing themselves to
be a powerful, autonomous force."
At 38, Theodore
Marcus, a practicing lawyer in Atlanta, is about one year over the usual
cutoff for membership in the Hip Hop Generation. However, such rules
do not apply in The Black Commentator. We think Atty. Marcus' insights
are valuable, despite his advanced age.
paper on the branding, if you will, of black youth and the political
non-culture they currently represent was fascinating. I am usually
unstirred by the group self-analyses I read, but this piece seems
to catch us between the eyes. It is as though we have been studied
from afar but very closely, in your view by corporate marketers and
derivatively by political watchers from the right, and every nuance,
every "button" as you put it, identified. Almost like genetic
mapping. This would not surprise me if it were so, as the conservative
place holders for the old school racists have always been fascinated
by the race(s) they despise. Case in point: I had to, I mean had to,
confess that they nailed us in the first Budweiser "True"
commercials. It was as if someone came to the meetings and took notes!
Alas, your article
raises, but leaves un-resolved (and that is not meant as a criticism),
the ultimate question: is there an un-bridgeable divide between blacks'
"enthusiastic" economic participation in capitalism (not
just housing, education, jobs, etc, but the open scrum of supply,
demand and advertising to both), however superficial, and black commitment
to traditional and still valid civil rights issues?
The hip hop generation
has made a powerful if uninformed and subconscious choice: we're in
it for the bling bling, the ching ching and the mean green. As a fresher
and deffer (old rap, I know) Tina Turner might sing: "what's
civil rights got to do with it?"
Heart of Dixie
Trent Lott's voice
commingles with the shouts of oncoming war, heavily southern-accented
howls and hurrahs that summon images of an enemy much closer than Iraq.
Denise Jones writes
amidst the din in the "Heart of Dixie."
I have a question
for Black America. Bush is asking our brothers, sons, daughters, sisters,
mothers and fathers to go to Iraq and fight a war against people who
look like us. At the same time, white America, via Lott and Frist
are telling us that they want to go back to the "good old days"
of segregation and Jim Crow. Dare we protest else we be labeled unpatriotic.
When will we wake up? We can't get jobs in corporate America, yet
they expect us to go and die for their profits. They are against affirmative
action on one hand, yet they are the benefactors of the oldest affirmative
action program in the world - "the good-ol-boy" program.
When will Colin
Powell realize that his loyalty to white America is displaced? When
will Condoleezza Rice recognize the fact that white America will turn
on her as viciously as they turned on Lott when she no longer benefits
their token program? When will the likes of Armstrong Williams and
Clarence Thomas realize that they are indeed Black? With any war,
there will be (and have been) casualties. This is not our war. It's
their war. By the way, Frist's voting record of affirmative action
and civil rights is identical to Lott's. Has the Republican Agenda
really changed or is it only a change in figureheads? Are you really
willing to die for a cause that does not include or benefit you? You
be the judge.
out on issues that affect us. You are a Godsend.
abomination that is America's Black Forum continues to represent an
assault on Black sensibilities - not to mention a special kind of embarrassment
co-publishers Glen Ford and Peter Gamble, who created the TV syndication
26 years ago, this month. Since 1996 - long after Ford and Gamble made
their exit - ABF has devolved into a showcase for rightwing mercenaries
Armstrong Williams and Niger (Roy's Boy) Innis and the slick and slippery
Juan Williams. (See "America's
Anti-Black Forum," December 12.)
Ronnie Brown's letter
made it easier for Ford and Gamble to bear the burden of having birthed
I stumbled upon
your website on a casual scan through the net. When I read that you
were the creators of "America's Black Forum," I nearly fell
out of my chair. This show has caused me much distress over the years.
Being only a recent viewer (about two years) I never realized how
far the show had fallen in terms of content and analysis. Black folks
are dying for principled spokespersons. Can't we do better than Armstrong
and Juan Williams? They're not brothers in the flesh, but surely they
can be considered "brothers in ideological foolishness!"
I will make your
site a part of my "must read" and will spread the word to
other like-minded Black folk to do the same. Continue to bring the
Anthony Ware took
the ABF problem on at the source. He writes from Hyattsville, Maryland,
just outside Washington
I'm writing to
commend BlackCommentator.com on the insightful America's Black Rightwing
Forum article. The opinions of Armstrong Williams, Niger Innis and
Juan Williams are repulsive. It's clear that these hired guns conduct
anti-Black terrorism for the Hard Right with pleasure in print, radio
and televised media. You expertly connect ABF's minions to Hard Right
philanthropic institutions and think tanks. These guys are the kinds
of racial entrepreneurs Rush Limbaugh loves.
Juan Williams as a whiner is so true. I remember engaging Williams
at Pentagon City shopping mall regarding his role as a Black Conservative.
In whiny fashion he described himself as a moderate, I replied that
moderates are reactionaries in drag especially when trying to defend
Clarence Thomas' sexual assault of Anita Hill and his voting record
on the Supreme Court.
will expose the political whoring of Right Rev. Eugene Rivers of Boston
on behalf of John DiIulio and the racist underpinnings of Bush's Faith
Based initiative scheme.
Keep up the good
Mr. Ware may live
around media criminals, but he does not tolerate them lightly.
Where does all the
dope come from, and who profits? Homer Fleetwood II, an adjunct professor
of history at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, wants
to know who - if anyone - is following the money trail.
I want to thank
you for offering your truly enlightening publication to such a wide
audience by offering access to your journal on the Internet. Several
of my friends and colleagues, as informed as we are, still have much
to lean from publications such as yours.
That being said,
I would like to put a question to you. Have you ever seen or heard-tell
of any attempts to attack the international drug trade by doing what
broke the Watergate Hearings wide open and significantly advanced
the War on Terrorism - "FOLLOWING THE MONEY?" Given the
powerful effect of such a strategy for defeating enemies of the Constitution
and the State, would you care to comment publicly on why it has not
been mentioned in the public arena vis-a-vis the War on Drugs?
the international drug trade has been an essential component of U.S.
foreign policy since at least the mid-Sixties. Simply put, the U.S.
seeks to dominate other nations through alliances with criminals, who
are in turn given impunity to sell their narco-products to the American
market. This modus operandi brought us the heroin plague of the
late Sixties-early Seventies (Southeast Asia), the heroin comeback of
the late Seventies-early Eighties (Afghan-Soviet war), and the crack
epidemic that began in the early to mid-Eighties (Central and South
America is now fully
engaged in military alliances with narco-criminals in the number one
poppy-heroin producing nation (Afghanistan) and the capital of the worldwide
cocaine network (Colombia.) The consequences are all around us. The
CIA calls such collateral damage to the home society "fallout."
We highly recommend
our April 5 commentary, "Make
the Amendment: How to get the U.S. government out of the international
drug trade." Follow the links to impeccable sources. Our November
21 Briefs report on "The
Axis of Addiction" is also useful to an understanding of the
interconnectedness of the drug trade and the Afghan and Colombian wars.
For details on how
the corporate media combined to smother the CIA-crack cocaine story,
check out Gary Webb's "Dark
Alliance" site. He's the courageous reporter whose attempt
to follow the narco-money trail ended in betrayal - of Webb, and of
Marty Williams just wanted to wish us well during the holidays.
I just wanted
to take a moment on this Christmas night to let you know that I've
been visiting your website for the last several weeks. Thank you for
presenting your commentaries now on a weekly basis; and thank you
for the diverse and refreshing comments that you provide. Your website
is a welcome change from the CNN/FOX news/CNBC/MSNBC/C-SPAN/three
network, major newspaper propaganda that is brought forth daily in
America. It's so nice to get another perspective of current events,
especially from a Black point of view.
As with any other source that I read and hear, I haven't always agreed
with you, but I've found that you've been as close to accurate in
about 95% of the commentaries I've read. PLEASE, continue with your
work. It is desperately needed!
Mr. Williams has
raised the bar on our performance, significantly. We will try to live
up to his expectations.
isn't so high maintenance. She thinks we're "fetching" - which
is a good thing, and has nothing to do with Stepin Fetchit. Ms. Loring
Thank you, merci,
gracias, grazie, danka,
are so very well researched and written, your links so fetching and
satisfying, I can only say that your E publication, is the best I
have ever experienced.
It's only been
a few short weeks, but without it, I'd feel a real sense of loss.
Barring a Bush "national
emergency," we're not going anywhere. Keep writing.
P.S. - Oops!
In our last issue
we made a technical error in the e-Mail notification many of our readers
receive. We neglected to update the message attached to the RE-PRINT
article. This may have caused some readers to think they were going
to get more news about Strom Thurmond's black daughter. However, the
click sent them to the correct re-print about African
Venezuelans fear new U.S. coup against President Chavez. This was
not a sneaky way to get readers to peruse this important piece, but
if you got there by accident we hope you enjoyed it. We do our best
to avoid dumb mistakes, but every so often one of them slips through.