In case you haven't seen a TV in the last month, here is some background. Bertha Lewis is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Organizer of ACORN, the largest community organization in the country. Appointed in May 2008, Ms. Lewis oversees the operations of its 400,000 strong membership, which is active in over 110 cities across the country.
During the past few weeks while Lewis has been all over the press defending her organization, she has claimed that her first priority is ACORN's Clients, those poor people needing housing, medical care, etc.
If she is so concerned about "the little people" its a bit disingenuous that she has a close relationship with the despotic regimes of Bolivia, and Venezuela. True, ACORN is a "spread the wealth" socialist organization, but these are Anti-American countries that oppress their own people. ACORN is supposed to support those who are oppressed not those who oppress.
By Matthew Vadum
Why is ACORN's chief organizer friendly with the Marxist anti-American governments of two South American countries?
Within ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis's storied rogues gallery of a rolodex may be found contact information for then-Bolivian ambassador Gustavo Guzman and for Sabine Kienzl, a professional propagandist employed by the Venezuelan embassy. The listing for Guzman contains what appears to have been a direct office telephone number.
An ACORN insider I spoke with confirmed the authenticity of the rolodex which I have seen. Erick Erickson of the website RedState recently did an excellent job unveiling the rolodex.
Both Bolivia and Venezuela are now headed by radical, anti-American leftists friendly to Communist Cuba -- and officials of those hostile nations somehow ended up as business associates of Bertha Lewis.
Last week Bolivian President Evo Morales denounced economic freedom as a concept. "I would like to say that the origin of this crisis is the unbridled consumption and accumulation of capital in a few hands, the looting of natural resources, the commercialization of Mother Earth, and above all, I believe its origin lies in an economic model -- capitalism," he told the United Nations.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's hatred of America and its freedoms is better publicized. Chavez calls capitalism "savagery" and has allowed Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas terrorists to open offices in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.
In a diplomatic row with Bolivia, the U.S. government expelled Guzman in September of last year. However, Kienzl apparently remains a "political economist" with Venezuela's embassy. A true-believing chavista, she describes herself as "an Austrian by passport but a Venezuelan in my heart."
Add to this a listing in the rolodex for CITGO executive Andres Rangel and the whole picture begins to come into clearer focus.
Remember that CITGO is a wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA). PDVSA is owned by the government of Venezuela and has been described as a "black box" because it is believed to also fund Chavez's overseas political ambitions. Oil export revenues fuel Chavez's petro-diplomacy.
I don't have proof that Chavez is funneling money to ACORN but it is not outside the realm of possibility, especially given ACORN's well-established criminal propensities and convoluted finances.
The despot sends the equivalent of millions of dollars to the U.S. every year as part of his public diplomacy campaign aimed at getting the American public to warm up to his government. Venezuelan oil flows to Citizens Energy Corp., a nonprofit headed by former Rep. Joe Kennedy II (D-Mass.) that gives some of the home heating oil away and sells some at a discount to poor people.
Citizens Energy is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, which means obtaining information about its donors is virtually impossible.
Chavez used Hurricane Katrina as an opportunity to taunt President Bush for the federal government's inept response to the disaster. Instead of using the Red Cross, Chavez used radical left-wing charities in the U.S. including the Vanguard Public Foundation and the Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund to distribute humanitarian aid.
Apparently an informal charity, the MySpace page of Peoples Hurricane Relief Fund is filled with rabidly anti-American propaganda. "Katrina put a spotlight on the horrors of racism, sexism, national oppression, poverty and environmental destruction in the U.S.," the page lectures. It also demands that "the American Government [be put] on trial for its Katrina related crimes against humanity."
Other radicals with ties to the Chavez regime, particularly the strongman's Hollywood friends, are listed in the rolodex.
There's chavista Danny Glover, the renowned "Lethal Weapon" actor. Glover, an outspoken radical left-winger, is so tight with Chavez that the Venezuelan government has given him money to make movies.
"The word in Venezuela is that Danny got $30 million, not 20, and that there are three movies they will shoot," actress Maria Conchita Alonso, a rare Hollywood antichavista told TV's "Hannity and Colmes" in May 2007. Chavez is "the biggest actor there is, much better than Danny Glover, so he has a way of making people believe that he was elected democratically and that he cares for the poor."
On a trip to Venezuela in 2006 Glover said he was "excited to get back to the United States to talk about what is happening [in Venezuela], knowing that you are in a transformative stage and that you are the architects of your own destiny."
Co-chairman of far-left Vanguard Public Foundation in San Francisco, Glover also serves on the advisory council for La Nueva Televisora del Sur ("The New Television Station of the South"), also known as teleSUR. Aiming to be a (more) left-wing alternative to CNN, the station has been broadcasting from Caracas since 2005. Rep. Connie Mack (R-Florida) observes that teleSUR, "the Chavez-funded network…has teamed up with Al-Jazeera to spread anti-democratic messages across Latin America."
Glover travels frequently to Venezuela. In 2003 he visited that country with a delegation that included then-SEIU International Vice President Patricia Ford and Marxist economist Julianne Malveaux who is also listed in Lewis's rolodex.
Now president of Bennett College for Women in North Carolina, Malveaux has called Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas a traitor to fellow African-Americans. Of Thomas, Malveaux said: "I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease…He is an absolutely reprehensible person."
Radical singer Harry Belafonte appears in the rolodex. After making a pilgrimage to Venezuela in 2006, Belafonte observed: "No matter what the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world, George W. Bush says, we're here to tell you: Not hundreds, not thousands, but millions of the American people...support your revolution."
Other radicals appear in the Lewis rolodex.
Fenton Communications senior account executive Eliza Brinkmeyer is also a rolodex resident. I don't know what her politics may be but the founder of the firm she works for is a confirmed leftist. Founded by left-wing image maker David Fenton, the firm manufactured the Alar scare in 1989. Fenton portrayed Alar, a preservative used in apples, as carcinogenic, and caused a public panic. The firm also handled media relations for the Communist regimes in Angola, Nicaragua, and Grenada in the 1980s. Fenton was reportedly the only journalist trusted enough by Bill Ayers's Weathermen group to be allowed to take group members' photographs.
Democratic Party strategist David Sirota, is in the rolodex. It's not certain that Sirota is a Marxist but he uses Marxist lingo a lot. In a blog post about Americans' resistance to Obama's socialist policies titled "This Is What the Class War Looks Like," he characterizes Obama's opponents as hate mongers.
Sirota also went to the mat defending President Obama's former green jobs czar Van Jones, a 9/11 "truther" and self-described "communist" who resigned under fire during the Labor Day weekend. Sirota called commentator Glenn Beck a "right-wing political terrorist" and said Jones was "originally targeted because he's an African-American man."
Why on earth is Bertha Lewis talking to these people?