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
foundations 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.
foundation-think 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
George 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.
Gowens writes to us from the belly of the beast. She is editor of
Warriors Voice in the Bradley Foundation's company town.
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 even realized:
January, 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.
Wisconsin, 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.
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!
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.
Abbott also hails from Milwaukee, and has seen the beast up-close.
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 Republican candidates.
Abbott understands well how webs are spun.
third Milwaukeean, Daniel Pryzbyla, testifies to the political death
grip in which Bradley holds the city.
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
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.
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 entire nation.
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.
in the bling bling
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,
Hop and the Hard Right," we wrote:
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."
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.
position 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
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?
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?"
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.
Jones writes amidst the din in the "Heart of Dixie."
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"
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.
speaking 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 to
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.)
Brown's letter made it easier for Ford and Gamble to bear the burden
of having birthed the program.
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!"
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 heat!
Ware took the ABF problem on at the source. He writes from Hyattsville,
Maryland, just outside Washington
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
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.
BC 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.
up the good work!
Ware may live around media criminals, but he does not tolerate them
Profits and Geopolitics
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
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.
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?
of 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 American wars.)
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
highly recommend our April 5 commentary, "Make
the Amendment: How to get the U.S. government out of the international
Follow the links to impeccable sources. Our November 21 Briefs report
Axis of Addiction" is also useful to an understanding of
the interconnectedness of the drug trade and the Afghan and Colombian
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 our nation.
unpleasantness. Marty Williams just wanted to wish us well during
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
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!
Williams has raised the bar on our performance, significantly. We
will try to live up to his expectations.
Loring 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 writes:
you, merci, gracias, grazie, danka,
articles 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.
only been a few short weeks, but without it, I'd feel a real sense
a Bush "national emergency," we're not going anywhere.
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
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