Issue Number 21 - December 19, 2002




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Trent Lott became a liability to George Bush when it became clear that the unreconstructed Dixiecrat's racist outbursts endanger Bush's faith-based initiatives, the massive political bribery program designed to smash the Black bloc vote. Not even a political soul mate like Lott could be allowed to stand in the way of an historic opportunity to finally neuter the greatest obstacle to a truly Republican-dominated America.

If anyone is angrier at Lott than African Americans, it is those corporate Republicans who have built the perfect bribery machine, tailored to the needs and greeds of the worst elements of the Black clergy. The White House was preparing to celebrate the dramatic, initial successes of its Black offensive - until somebody got too happy at Strom Thurmond's birthday party. Lott and his co-Confederates now twist slowly in the wind because he put Bush's faith-based initiatives in jeopardy.

Lott flap disrupted grand plan

As much as African Americans have enjoyed the spectacle of a squirming Trent Lott, who has no doubt been suffering the special nightmares of the damned insane, we must not lose sight of the real prize Bush seeks. The campaign to corrupt the Black clergy is worth far more to the GOP than preserving the perverted pride of one redneck.

That is why Bush chose to tongue-lash Lott before an audience comprised mainly of Black clergy and community service providers, drawn to Philadelphia by the prospect of federal contracts. Last week's faith-based initiatives conference was part of a nationwide schedule of events designed to create a Republican political contracting and patronage network in the heart of Black America. Bush had hoped to deliver his usual spiel about removing federal laws that "discriminate" against churches. Lott's stink bomb put the spotlight on real, historical, Mississippi-style discrimination. It took a few days to sink into the backward brains of the Bush crew, but their Black hirelings and the corporate crowd understood the dimensions of the crisis, immediately. Lott was poison.

According to CNN, Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell were both asked to speak out on behalf of Lott, but refused. Much more significantly, Armstrong Williams, a man who will take money to vouch for the devil himself, and who began his Washington career as an intern for Strom Thurmond, balked at defending Lott. Williams knows that the multi-million dollar project to find, bankroll and field Black fronts for the Republican message is based on the premise that the GOP is not the White Man's Party. Trent Lott proclaimed otherwise. Armstrong Williams squats at the center of the GOP's growing web of Black operatives. His castle could crumble, and he is pissed.

The peripatetic political prostitute put out a "bonus column" real quick. "Whatever gains the president has made (and was poised to make with a GOP controlled Senate) can be ripped to shreds when just one leading member of the GOP makes remarks as racially insensitive as those offered by Senator Lott," said the fearful servant, who was really talking about the shredding of his own credibility and usefulness among Blacks. Williams is water boy to every rightwing foundation on American soil, the people who invented Bush's vouchers and faith-based gimmicks. Williams was hastily signaling their displeasure with Lott, whose indiscretions undercut a decade of multi-million dollar investments in operatives like himself.

Ward Connerly, destroyer of affirmative action in California higher education and Williams' older, West Coast counterpart, freaked and gave away the game. Lott, said the man responsible for ruining the lives of countless Black youth, "has mortally wounded himself." Connerly told CNN, "I don't see how Sen. Lott can be effective" in the fight against affirmative action. Connerly fears that Lott may succumb to - get this! - "white guilt" and "defer to" folks like the Congressional Black Caucus on racial issues.

In other words, Connerly's and Armstrong Williams' livelihoods are threatened by the events Trent Lott so arrogantly set in motion.

Bush seeks sea-change

With faith-based initiatives slated for action when the Senate reconvenes in January, Majority Leader-to-be Lott should have known better than to poison the well; he just couldn't help himself. "African American churches are more enthused about this initiative than a lot of other people," said Lott, delivering apology number four at last week's Mississippi press conference. Lott had forgotten that you can't wave the Confederate flag and bribe the Black clergy at the same time. Bribers and bribees alike tend to photograph badly, under such circumstances. It's hard to sell the congregation on that kind of deal.

Bush's entire Black strategy is riding on faith-based corruption. Copyrighted by the Bradley Foundation, whose think tanks also devised the Republican Party's version of welfare "reform" and invented the school voucher "movement" out of thin air, the scheme is elegantly simple. Politically 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. Should Democrats regain federal power in the future, they would face a daunting problem: who is going to de-fund The Right Rev. Dr. Greedygut, the born-again Republican social service provider? Once given life, this is the kind of political monster that will - like Strom Thurmond - refuse to die.

Encouraged by reports from its Black agents in the field and by polls showing growing Black disappointment with Democrats, the Bush administration set up faith-based offices in five cabinet departments, answerable directly to the White House. Former faith-based director John DiIulio, a Catholic and nominal Democrat, resigned under constant pressures to grant political dispensations to the eager clergy who lined up early. Departmental contracting offices have been reconfigured as paymasters for a new class of Black Republican preacher-entrepreneurs.

Before Lott suffered his bile spewing, birthday party seizure, the faith-based juggernaut had been marching like Sherman through Black America. At least 1,500 people, including hundreds of ministers, answered the taxpayer-funded call to an October conference in Atlanta, sponsored by the White House and the departments of Education, Labor, Justice, Health and Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development. Indeed, with all that money on display, who wouldn't want to come take a look?

Back in July, the Bush men invited 1,600 Black South Carolina preachers to learn how to get a piece of the faith-based political pie. So brazen are Republicans in Strom Thurmond's state, they abandoned all pretense and sent the invitations out on GOP stationary. Three hundred hungry ministers showed up at what Republican state director Ron Thomas called "not necessarily a political event." Thomas was, however, pleased that the seminar "got huge press coverage, press and TV. It was a great, great success."

GOP agenda rolls on

These are the kinds of pressures that South Carolina's only Black Congressman, James Clyburn, could do without in a district that is only 53% Black. There was worse to come. On December 12, the day George Bush rebuked Trent Lott in front the Philadelphia faith-based gathering, the President issued an executive order to implement his initiatives without the consent of congress - separation of church and state be damned, along with separation of legislative and executive powers.

"President Bush continues to cave in to the right wing extremists of his party," said Rep. Clyburn, speaking as vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. "Today's move to bypass Congress and allow federal funds to support religious organizations that discriminate is an outrage. This special treatment for his core constituency is a slap in the face to the constitutional separation of church and state, and clearly illustrates to whom this Administration is beholden."

Filter out the nonsensical media chatter, and we see that Bush chastised Lott because the Mississippian needlessly complicated the grand plan to massively subvert the Black vote - voters that the likes of Lott and Thurmond had failed to permanently suppress decades ago. This is the new face of the Republican Party. Its Black wing is to be reborn in bribery, an attempt to replay Reconstruction - not the way it really was, but the way white racists imagine it to have been, full of corrupt Negroes selling their votes for cash out of a carpet bag.

's publishers are immensely enjoying the GOP's discomfort and Lott's humiliation, as are most Black people. The episode has provided a spotlight on our history and made credible an African American worldview that in recent decades has been dismissed as archaic, almost mythical. But Lott is an episode, one that will be forgotten sooner than we would like to think. If George Bush's Black agenda is pushed through the Senate - with or without Trent Lott as Majority Leader - Black political power will be smashed, irrevocably.

George Bush knows exactly the agenda he is protecting as he jettisons Trent Lott. The GOP's assault on African American political cohesion is based on two, related schemes: faith-based initiatives and private school vouchers. These are the pillars of his grand plan to neuter Blacks, politically. Nothing else related to Blacks is as important to the White House, and nothing else should be more important to us, including the status of Trent Lott.

Both vouchers and faith-based contracting are designed to subvert Blacks, internally, by planting well-funded centers of Republican influence in the very heart of African American neighborhoods. Only last month, Bush's Education department gave $600,000 to the Black front group created to spread vouchers propaganda among Blacks. Rightwing foundation dollars succeeded in grafting vouchers onto the "Black" political agenda, empowering totally non-representative elements, whom we are now expected to deal with as if they are legitimate voices of the community.

Faith-based buyouts of Black ministers will lead quickly to a political fracturing among African Americans unlike any in our history. Black leadership will be forced to reorganize itself on terms dictated by the party in charge of the federal treasury. Bush has thrown open the vaults, and is awaiting action in the Senate to begin dispensing contracts to his preachers of choice. That's why he was in Philadelphia - to shore up his faith-based weapon against Black political solidarity. Lott had to be sacrificed to that larger goal.

The Lieberman threat

Immediately following Lott's conversation with BET's Ed Gordon, New York Black U.S. Rep. Gregory Meek appeared on the channel. The Congressional Black Caucus, said Meek, would "make sure that there is a resolution on the floor to rebuke" Lott, in January. All Black America looks forward to seeing Lott on the rack, once again. will also relish the spectacle.

But what if Lott votes to rebuke himself, to vote for his own censure? We raise this question only to ask another one: What have we won if all we have wrung from this serendipitous blunder by Lott is... to be handed the head of Trent Lott?

Outgoing Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney proposed that Trent Lott endorse permanent extension of the Voting Rights Act to show his contrition. Lott and the White Man's Party have thrived in Dixie under the Voting Rights Act. At this rate, they can live with it forever. We, on the other hand, cannot live with faith-based initiatives that establish thousands of Trojan Horses throughout Black America, fully funded captives of the Right.

If Trent Lott is still around to be censured in the next Congress, Connecticut Democratic Leadership Council Senator Joseph Lieberman, the presidential candidate from the right wing of the party, will emit self-righteous noises about America entering a new era. He will then go straight to the White House to reconcile his own version of faith-based legislation with Bush's bill. The measure will be offered as a bipartisan expression of enlightened politics. A number of opportunists on the Congressional Black Caucus will applaud.

We deserve the rush of satisfaction that Trent Lott's suffering has made possible, a kind of unintended Kwanzaa offering. But we have not yet won anything, and are on the verge of losing catastrophically.

Happy holidays.

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