Issue Number 24 - January 9, 2003

The buying of Rev. Dr. Greedygut
More Confederates in GOP closet
It’s a bitch being rich





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Our illustrated character The Right Rev. Dr. Greedygut made his debut in last week's issue, but it is evident that many readers have known him all of their lives. He's the preacher who is always ready with a biblical justification for his own enrichment. The Republican faith-based offensive, captained on the Democratic side by Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, was conceived for the purpose of buying Rev. Greedygut's endorsement of George Bush's "compassionate conservatism." (See "De-funding the Right Rev. Dr. Greedygut," January 2.)

Dorothy Lavalle, of McKinleyville CA, enjoyed cartoonist Khalil Bendib's work, and our analysis.

Thank you for the excellent article on faith-based bribery. The cartoon of The Right Reverend Dr. Greedygut was wonderful, too. Bush hasn't the faintest idea what the poor or ill or elderly face in this country, people of all races and nationalities.

Years ago when my children were young and we were penniless due to a divorce, I had to turn to our local Mission. We were given a meal, but not before a twenty-minute sermon. When we went to get clothes at the Mission outlet, a Mission worker said to my strikingly beautiful 16 year old daughter, "You will go to Hell! You are the child of the devil!" because she said she didn't go to church. My daughter was very hurt, as you may imagine, and never forgot the exchange. That attitude is exactly why we didn't go to church, in fact. Sometimes you don't find much Christianity in Church. Besides, the Mission did not represent our religious convictions! That same daughter now has her Master's in Social Science, is married, and caring for a two-year old at home - but she still doesn't go to church, even to the Unitarian's.

My point being: we need public, secular, government programs for those who find themselves in dire straits. The Churches may serve as an adjunct and provide alternative services in the community, that's fine, but the security of the people is the responsibility of the government to which we pay taxes, not of faith-based organizations over which we, the people, have no control, and who may discriminate against the poor and sick and "different," in terms of the delivery of services and the employment of workers who deliver those services.

If Bush's massive bribery scheme is successful, the poor will find themselves even more isolated, as ministers scramble for federal contracts to replace public social services. Welfare rights activists have experienced the political sea change that occurs when organizations that once advocated for the poor suddenly become part of the privatization process. Cat Sullivan writes, from Seattle.

Since I have discovered your excellent and insightful website, I want to tell you that it has been wonderful. Please keep it up. I am an activist for low-income issues in my area and your recent writings about the faith-based initiatives is creating a lively conversation on the list-serv of our organization, Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition. This is because you said what many of us, especially the recipients, are very realistically afraid to say. But it has opened up a dam of response and discussion which is needed....

While we did not declare a class war, it has been declared upon us by the upper class. So be it. Just keep this in mind as well: As in Venezuela when they found to their surprise that poor people too can get together and vote, together there are more of us than them, there is power in numbers. So please keep writing. I admire your courage to address some real issues!

We encourage readers to click on the Welfare Rights Organizing Coalition site. Ms. Sullivan's group provides, among other things, "training in public speaking, working with the media and telling your story from a position of power." These skills will be more necessary than ever, in the face of a Republican Black bribery strategy that aims to silence dissent through creative contracting.

Bush's faith-based legislation is formally known as the Charity Aid, Recovery and Empowerment Act. Bob Snowed sent us his assessment of the bill.

I agree that this act is so wrong in so many ways. One thought that I'm sure you've heard or have thought about: What about Islam? Meaning, if this is "Faith-Based", well Islam is a faith, yes? I would think it would be perfect if different Islamic faith organizations would apply for funds. Of course if they are refused, then sue the living crap out of the government.

Should the Bush bribery and patronage legislation become law, urges that the resulting political patronage network be challenged by every legal means available, in every locality - with an eye toward the future prosecution of Rev. Dr. Greedygut and his ilk, since it is unavoidable that they will commit numerous crimes and misdemeanors. Upon release from prison, he can then line up for soup and counseling at the faith-based facility of his choice.

Linda Brown sees the busy hands of the Moonies at work among the GOP's church-based politicians.

You hit the nail on the head. Please check into the influence of Sun Myung Moon on the faith-based AND the marriage initiatives. Moon has been targeting black ministers and lawmakers for a few years. He even helps to fund Louis Farrakhan's events - Farrakhan calls him a "prophet". How the hell the public is unaware that Moon is so closely aligned with Bush, Falwell, Lahaye (Left Behind books), Farrakhan and many other right-wingers, separatists, and ministers is beyond comprehension. Please do what you can to open more eyes. Thank you for your wonderfully sane site.

A Texas educator sent us a letter that we, initially, thought to be satirical. Now we're not sure. Here's John Sibley Butler's take on faith-based initiatives:

Very interesting comments. But I grew up faith based in New Orleans. I went to a High School that was grounded in faith (there was no Federal Government to bail us out). Both my Grand Parents and Parents went to Historical Black Colleges that were grounded in faith, and were forced to attend church everyday. I can remember my congregation taking up collections so that students at Dillard University could have spending money. Of course none of this was connected to politics, because we could not vote and thus could care less about who the President was.

As an adult, my children were taught a lot of faith, a lot of sports, and how to make money. I basically tried to keep them out of politics and live in America like my parents, their parents, and their parents. Black Americans who are grounded in faith, but do not wear it on their sleeves, support education (Morehouse College, Spelman College, Dillard University, Huston-Tillotson College and about 100 black colleges and universities) and tend to be entrepreneurs.

Who cares who the President of the U.S. is? You have to work yourself into wealth and prosperity. I do agree that ministers who believe only in the "bye and bye" afterlife (that is not all of them) are not good. As a matter of fact, I think that the black population began to decline in the importance of making money when ministers took over the leadership.

John Sibley Butler
Professor of Management and Sociology
The Gale Chair in Entrepreneurship and Small Business
Director, Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center
McCombs School of Business
The University of Texas at Austin

Trent Lott's crowded GOP closet

's readers perform invaluable services to the publication - even the ones with no last names, like "Jim." A resident of San Francisco, Jim called our attention to the outing of a high-ranking Confederate in the California GOP. Jim also tends to get excited when he finds himself among intelligent people.

Dead-on. Accurate, too. LOVE it.

I just found your site. The issues you cover may primarily affect Black Americans, but I believe they affect ALL Americans. We're all in this mess together and we have to work together to stop the corporate hostile takeover currently in progress.

By the way, yet another repiglican, in California, of all places, is showing his racist side, claiming that, basically, if the South had won (paraphrasing and channeling Lott), "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years."

They're finally showing their true, uh, for lack of a better word, "colors," and it's hilarious to watch them badly pretending to be "surprised" and "outraged" and "shocked! SHOCKED!" when their christopublican buddies reveal their true feelings about how "great" the nation was in the good old days, when it practiced the "Christian" values of slavery, anti-Semitism, discrimination, etc.

Thanks for working to add a refreshing, truthful, challenging voice in a sea of ditto-heads and fundies regurgitating RNC press releases and rants as "facts."

It's a bitch being rich

Last week, we discussed Bush's plan to eliminate the tax on stock dividends - a dream of the Hard Right since Ronald Reagan was a baby. (See "Bush plans more gifts for the rich," Briefs.) White House "sources" had been telling the corporate press that Bush would seek to cut dividend taxes 50%, another boondoggle for the super-rich. Some "advisors" urged caution, warning of a public backlash. Bush decided to go for the whole hog; he now proposes eliminating the tax entirely, a $300 billion gift to his friends.

We got this reaction from Ken Driessen, of Hayward, Wisconsin:

Bush plans a tax cut on dividends? I do not know about you but my retirement fund is losing money. All of my family and friends are loosing money on their investments so how can they get a tax break on their profits when they only have losses? The only people who are going to profit from such a dividend tax break are the ones who have invested in bombs and war. Bush's daddy sits on the Carlyle Group board which controls United Defense Industries, a large military equipment contractor. This is absolute Reagan era blow back. Now can people see Bush as he is, a liar, a corporate thief and an illegitimate president? If we don't send him back to Texas I swear he is gonna start World War Three and try to profit from it. Please God help us.

Black Diaspora to the South

It is long past time that Black Americans awoke to the African-descended world to the south of our borders, comprising millions of other African Americans who are daily growing more self-consciously active. Attorney D. Adrian Bryan wants to see more articles like "African Venezuelans fear new U.S. coup against President Chavez," from our December 26 issue.

Excellent article about the African Venezuelans. Not surprisingly, the U.S. has allied itself with entrenched power against a people's movement working for justice "in fact" not just in name. Give us more on Blacks in South and Central America. We know so little about them and how our policy choices can help make their lives better. We can help them and help ourselves at the same time.

For a start, recommends, from which the December 26 article was reprinted; Narco News, the best, daily coverage of the U.S.-financed, cocaine-fueled war in Colombia, which has been disastrous for the Black population; and AfroCubaWeb, an excellent cultural and political source.

Texas-based buccaneers

We've re-floated Bush's pirate ship for this week's cartoon, but readers are still writing in about our initial commentary on the war profiteers, "Rule of the Pirates: The $200 payday," December 5. Eileen Flanagan dropped us a line, from New York City.

I'd like to commend you on your excellent article, "The Rule of the Pirates." You shed light on many important subjects that are not being talked about by the "liberal media."

I'm going to send this to many of my friends and hope that it will open up some closed minds to the true agenda of these corporate buccaneers. If the members of the Business Roundtable have any sense, they'll move to force Cheney and Bush and their fiendish cabal to open up their records to public scrutiny. However, I don't think that's likely (at least in the near future).

We need more media outlets that are unencumbered by corporate censorship to get the news to the American public. We are being lied to, aggressively and repeatedly. Thanks for helping to reveal the true motives of these corporate pirates and their parasitic friends.

Note that we placed Sen. Joseph Lieberman at Bush's right side in our current cartoon. The Connecticut presidential candidate and top spokesman for the rightist Democratic Leadership Council is indistinguishable from the Bush buccaneers. Any Black elected official who endorses Lieberman's candidacy should be made to walk the plank, next election day.

Affirmative action

Affirmative action was never effectively implemented in any sector of U.S. society, yet it remains a near-universal scapegoat for white failures and frustrations. Helen Keniston Oney, of Huntsville AL, hears the ugly lamentations all the time. She was compelled to write to us after reading Tim Wise's December 12 article, "Selling Sloppy Statistics."

Well, I found the article interesting enough to ask my husband to help me understand the math better (I never took statistics and I also wanted him to read the article). And, even though it is true that Wise does not investigate the problems on the Left, I am glad that someone is refuting the *"reverse discrimination" magical math and backlash that is so gleefully and pervasively reported by the press. Many, many Caucasians I know - even those who say they are committed to racial justice - believe that many white kids are kept out of college (like in the tens of thousands) because of Affirmative Action in the college acceptance process, and that simply isn't true. As Mark Twain said, "There's lies, damn lies and statistics."

*That term bothers me so much, since the reverse of discrimination is the lack thereof....

Racists construct a world of their own, and a vocabulary to go with it. They founded a continental asylum based on genocide and slavery. Now they are intent on dominating the planet by much the same rules. It is somehow logical that their most prominent, deadly foreign opponents are crazy, too.

Thaddeus Delay is definitely in his right mind. We know this, because he has recognized the value of .

I just recently discovered your website. It is essential in helping raise awareness in our community. Time has come to move from the role of oppressed to reclaim and assert our existence as viable and absolutely necessary. Our forefathers would be saddened indeed by the lack of involvement and sense of urgency we see today in our youth. I hope (but know better) we will wake up and do some 'think tanking' ourselves, of which we are more than capable. Keep up the good work and I thank you.

Jerry A. Stanley is a friend of ours, although we have never met him. Mr. Stanley caught a mistake of the factual kind in our last issue that, uncorrected, might have brought down our carefully constructed edifice of erudition. Yes, it was that bad. But Mr. Stanley, like the guy who tells you something is hanging out of your nose before the meeting, proved himself to be a friend. Therefore, we believe everything he says about us:

This kind of insight is exactly what everyone, in general, needs and definitely what African-Americans, in particular, need.

Sadly, I'm not sure if everyone is reading your articles and paying attention as I have found that many people are actually afraid to even think the truth about politics and race in America...which is downright scary!

Keep up the good work!

Keep writing.

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