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So my job is to make sure that we have a North Star out there. What is helping the American people

live out their lives? What is giving them more opportunity? What is growing the economy? What is making

us more competitive? And at any given juncture, there are going to be times where my preferred option,

what I am absolutely positive is right, I can't get done.

 

 

Books by Barack Obama

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance  / The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Obama's Greatest Speeches (CD set)  / Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

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Obama on Tax Cuts and Unemployment Benefits

By President Barack Obama

 

6 December 2010

Room 430

Eisenhower Executive Office Building

 

Hello, everybody. Sorry to keep you waiting.

For the past few weeks there's been a lot of talk around Washington about taxes and there's been a lot of political positioning between the two parties. But around kitchen tables, Americans are asking just one question: Are we going to allow their taxes to go up on January 1st, or will we meet our responsibilities to resolve our differences and do what's necessary to speed up the recovery and get people back to work?

Now, there's no doubt that the differences between the parties are real and they are profound. Ever since I started running for this office I've said that we should only extend the tax cuts for the middle class. These are the Americans who've taken the biggest hit not only from this recession but from nearly a decade of costs that have gone up while their paychecks have not. It would be a grave injustice to let taxes increase for these Americans right now. And it would deal a serious blow to our economic recovery.

Now, Republicans have a different view. They believe that we should also make permanent the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. I completely disagree with this. A permanent extension of these tax cuts would cost us $700 billion at a time when we need to start focusing on bringing down our deficit. And economists from all across the political spectrum agree that giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires does very little to actually grow our economy.

This is where the debate has stood for the last couple of weeks. And what is abundantly clear to everyone in this town is that Republicans will block a permanent tax cut for the middle class unless they also get a permanent tax cut for the wealthiest Americans, regardless of the cost or impact on the deficit.

We saw that in two different votes in the Senate that were taken this weekend. And without a willingness to give on both sides, there's no reason to believe that this stalemate won't continue well into next year. This would be a chilling prospect for the American people whose taxes are currently scheduled to go up on January 1st because of arrangements that were made back in 2001 and 2003 under the Bush tax cuts.

I am not willing to let that happen. I know there's some people in my own party and in the other party who would rather prolong this battle, even if we can't reach a compromise. But I'm not willing to let working families across this country become collateral damage for political warfare here in Washington. And I'm not willing to let our economy slip backwards just as we're pulling ourselves out of this devastating recession.

I'm not willing to see 2 million Americans who stand to lose their unemployment insurance at the end of this month be put in a situation where they might lose their home or their car or suffer some additional economic catastrophe.

So, sympathetic as I am to those who prefer a fight over compromise, as much as the political wisdom may dictate fighting over solving problems, it would be the wrong thing to do. The American people didn't send us here to wage symbolic battles or win symbolic victories. They would much rather have the comfort of knowing that when they open their first paycheck on January of 2011, it won't be smaller than it was before, all because Washington decided they preferred to have a fight and failed to act.

Make no mistake: Allowing taxes to go up on all Americans would have raised taxes by $3,000 for a typical American family. And that could cost our economy well over a million jobs.

At the same time, I'm not about to add $700 billion to our deficit by allowing a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. And I won't allow any extension of these tax cuts for the wealthy, even a temporary one, without also extending unemployment insurance for Americans who've lost their jobs or additional tax cuts for working families and small businesses -- because if Republicans truly believe we shouldn't raise taxes on anyone while our economy is still recovering from the recession, then surely we shouldn't cut taxes for wealthy people while letting them rise on parents and students and small businesses.

As a result, we have arrived at a framework for a bipartisan agreement. For the next two years, every American family will keep their tax cuts -- not just the Bush tax cuts, but those that have been put in place over the last couple of years that are helping parents and students and other folks manage their bills.

In exchange for a temporary extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we will be able to protect key tax cuts for working families -- the Earned Income Tax Credit that helps families climb out of poverty; the Child Tax Credit that makes sure families don't see their taxes jump up to $1,000 for every child; and the American Opportunity Tax Credit that ensures over 8 million students and their families don't suddenly see the cost of college shooting up.

These are the tax cuts for some of the folks who've been hit hardest by this recession, and it would be simply unacceptable if their taxes went up while everybody else's stayed the same.

Now, under this agreement, unemployment insurance will also be extended for another 13 months, which will be welcome relief for 2 million Americans who are facing the prospect of having this lifeline yanked away from them right in the middle of the holiday season.

This agreement would also mean a 2 percent employee payroll tax cut for workers next year -- a tax cut that economists across the political spectrum agree is one of the most powerful things we can do to create jobs and boost economic growth.

And we will prevent -- we will provide incentives for businesses to invest and create jobs by allowing them to completely write off their investments next year. This is something identified back in September as a way to help American businesses create jobs. And thanks to this compromise, it's finally going to get done.

In exchange, the Republicans have asked for more generous treatment of the estate tax than I think is wise or warranted. But we have insisted that that will be temporary.

I have no doubt that everyone will find something in this compromise that they don't like. In fact, there are things in here that I don't like -- namely the extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and the wealthiest estates. But these tax cuts will expire in two years. And I'm confident that as we make tough choices about bringing our deficit down, as I engage in a conversation with the American people about the hard choices we're going to have to make to secure our future and our children's future and our grandchildren's future, it will become apparent that we cannot afford to extend those tax cuts any longer.

As for now, I believe this bipartisan plan is the right thing to do. It's the right thing to do for jobs. It's the right thing to do for the middle class. It is the right thing to do for business. And it's the right thing to do for our economy. It offers us an opportunity that we need to seize.

It's not perfect, but this compromise is an essential step on the road to recovery. It will stop middle-class taxes from going up. It will spur our private sector to create millions of new jobs, and add momentum that our economy badly needs.

Building on that momentum is what I'm focused on. It's what members of Congress should be focused on. And I'm looking forward to working with members of both parties in the coming days to see to it that we get this done before everyone leaves town for the holiday season. We cannot allow this moment to pass.

And let me just end with this. There's been a lot of debate in Washington about how this would ultimately get resolved. I just want everybody to remember over the course of the coming days, both Democrats and Republicans, that these are not abstract fights for the families that are impacted. Two million people will lose their unemployment insurance at the end of this month if we don't get this resolved. Millions more of Americans will see their taxes go up at a time when they can least afford it. And my singular focus over the next year is going to be on how do we continue the momentum of the recovery, how do we make sure that we grow this economy and we create more jobs.

We cannot play politics at a time when the American people are looking for us to solve problems. And so I look forward to engaging the House and the Senate, members of both parties, as well as the media, in this debate. But I am confident that this needs to get done, and I'm confident ultimately Congress is going to do the right thing.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Source: whitehouse.gov

Obama Announces Bipartisan Pact on Taxes

6 December 2010

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Obama's Press Conference on Tax Cut Deal

 

7 December 2010

The President: Good afternoon, everybody. Before I answer a few questions, I just wanted to say a few words about the agreement we've reached on tax cuts.

My number one priority is to do what's right for the American people, for jobs, and for economic growth. I'm focused on making sure that tens of millions of hardworking Americans are not seeing their paychecks shrink on January 1st just because the folks here in Washington are busy trying to score political points.

And because of this agreement, middle-class Americans won't see their taxes go up on January 1st, which is what I promised—a promise I made during the campaign, a promise I made as President.

Because of this agreement, 2 million Americans who lost their jobs and are looking for work will be able to pay their rent and put food on their table. And in exchange for a temporary extension of the high-income tax breaks—not a permanent but a temporary extension—a policy that I opposed but that Republicans are unwilling to budge on, this agreement preserves additional tax cuts for the middle class that I fought for and that Republicans opposed two years ago.

I'll cite three of them. Number one, if you are a parent trying to raise your child or pay college tuition, you will continue to see tax breaks next year. Second, if you're a small business looking to invest and grow, you'll have a tax cut next year. Third, as a result of this agreement, we will cut payroll taxes in 2011, which will add about $1,000 to the take-home pay of a typical family.

So this isn't an abstract debate. This is real money for real people that will make a real difference in the lives of the folks who sent us here. It will make a real difference in the pace of job creation and economic growth. In other words, it's a good deal for the American people.

Now, I know there are some who would have preferred a protracted political fight, even if it had meant higher taxes for all Americans, even if it had meant an end to unemployment insurance for those who are desperately looking for work.

And I understand the desire for a fight. I'm sympathetic to that. I'm as opposed to the high-end tax cuts today as I've been for years. In the long run, we simply can't afford them. And when they expire in two years, I will fight to end them, just as I suspect the Republican Party may fight to end the middle-class tax cuts that I've championed and that they've opposed.

So we're going to keep on having this debate. We're going to keep on having this battle. But in the meantime I'm not here to play games with the American people or the health of our economy. My job is to do whatever I can to get this economy moving. My job is to do whatever I can to spur job creation. My job is to look out for middle-class families who are struggling right now to get by and Americans who are out of work through no fault of their own.

A long political fight that carried over into next year might have been good politics, but it would be a bad deal for the economy and it would be a bad deal for the American people. And my responsibility as President is to do what's right for the American people. That's a responsibility I intend to uphold as long as I am in this office.

So with that, let me take a couple of questions.

Ben Feller.

Ben Feller: Thank you, Mr. President. You've been telling the American people all along that you oppose extending the tax cuts for the wealthier Americans. You said that again today. But what you never said was that you oppose the tax cuts, but you'd be willing to go ahead and extend them for a couple years if the politics of the moment demand it.

So what I'm wondering is when you take a stand like you had, why should the American people believe that you're going to stick with it? Why should the American people believe that you're not going to flip flop?

The President: Hold on a second, Ben. This isn't the politics of the moment. This has to do with what can we get done right now. So the issue—here's the choice. It's very stark. We can't get my preferred option through the Senate right now. As a consequence, if we don't get my option through the Senate right now, and we do nothing, then on January 1st of this—of 2011, the average family is going to see their taxes go up about $3,000. Number two: At the end of this month, 2 million people will lose their unemployment insurance.

Now, I have an option, which is to say, you know what, I'm going to keep fighting a political fight, which I can't win in the Senate—and by the way, there are going to be more Republican senators in the Senate next year sworn in than there are currently. So the likelihood that the dynamic is going to improve for us getting my preferred option through the Senate will be diminished. I've got an option of just holding fast to my position and, as a consequence, 2 million people may not be able to pay their bills and tens of millions of people who are struggling right now are suddenly going to see their paychecks smaller. Or alternatively, what I can do is I can say that I am going to stick to my position that those folks get relief, that people get help for unemployment insurance. And I will continue to fight before the American people to make the point that the Republican position is wrong.

Now, if there was not , if this was just a matter of my politics or being able to persuade the American people to my side, then I would just stick to my guns, because the fact of the matter is the American people already agree with me. There are polls showing right now that the American people, for the most part, think it's a bad idea to provide tax cuts to the wealthy.

But the issue is not me persuading the American people; they're already there. The issue is, how do I persuade the Republicans in the Senate who are currently blocking that position. I have not been able to budge them. And I don't think there's any suggestion anybody in this room thinks realistically that we can budge them right now.

And in the meantime, there are a whole bunch of people being hurt and the economy would be damaged. And my first job is to make sure that the economy is growing, that we're creating jobs out there, and that people who are struggling are getting some relief. And if I have to choose between having a protracted political battle on the one hand, but those folks being hurt or helping those folks and continuing to fight this political battle over the next two years, I will choose the latter.

Ben Feller: If I may follow up quickly, sir, you're describing the situation you're in right now. What about the last two years when it comes to your preferred option? Was there a failure either on the part of the Democratic leadership on the Hill or here that you couldn't preclude these wealthier cuts from going forward?

The President: Well, let me say that on the Republican side, this is their holy grail, these tax cuts for the wealthy. This is—seems to be their central economic doctrine. And so, unless we had 60 votes in the Senate at any given time, it would be very hard for us to move this forward. I have said that I would have liked to have seen a vote before the election. I thought this was a strong position for us to take into the election, to crystallize the positions of the two parties, because I think the Democrats have better ideas. I think our proposal to make sure that the middle class is held harmless, but that we don't make these Bush tax cuts permanent for wealthy individuals, because it was going to cost the country at a time when we've got these looming deficits, that that was the better position to take. And the American people were persuaded by that.

But the fact of the matter is, I haven't persuaded the Republican Party. I haven't persuaded Mitch McConnell and I haven't persuaded John Boehner. And if I can't persuade them, then I've got to look at what is the best thing to do, given that reality, for the American people and for jobs.

Julianna.

Julianna: Thank you, Mr. President. Back in July, your budget office's Mid-Session Review forecast that unemployment would be 7.7 percent in the second—in the fourth quarter of 2012. Will this package deal lower that projected rate? And also, is it going to do more to boost growth and create jobs than your Recovery Act?

The President: This is not as significant a boost to the economy as the Recovery Act was, but we're in a different situation now. I mean, when the Recovery Act passed, we were looking at a potential Great Depression and we might have seen unemployment go up to 15 percent, 20 percent—we don't know. In combination with the work we did in stabilizing the financial system, the work that the Federal Reserve did, that's behind us now. We don't have the danger of a double-dip recession.

What we have is a situation in which the economy, although growing, although company profits are up, although we are seeing some job growth in the private sector, the economy is not growing fast enough to drive down the unemployment rate given the 8 million jobs that were lost before I came into office and just as I was coming into office.

So what this package does is provide an additional boost that is substantially more significant than I think most economic forecasters had expected. And in fact, you've already seen some, just over the last 24 hours, suggest that we may see faster growth and more job growth as a consequence of this package. I think the payroll tax holiday will have an impact. Unemployment insurance probably has the biggest impact in terms of making sure that the recovery that we have continues and perhaps at a faster pace.

So, overall, every economist I've talked to suggests that this will help economic growth and this will help job growth over the next several months. And that is the main criteria by which I made this decision.

Look, this is something that I think everybody has to remember, and I would speak especially to my fellow Democrats who I think rightly are passionate about middle-class families, working families, low-income families who are having the toughest time in this economy.

The single most important jobs program we can put in place is a growing economy. The single most important anti-poverty program we can put in place is making sure folks have jobs and the economy is growing.

We can do a whole bunch of other stuff, but if the economy is not growing, if the private sector is not hiring faster than it's currently hiring, then we are going to continue to have problems no matter how many programs we put into place.

And that's why, when I look at what our options were, for us to have another three, four, five months of uncertainty, not only would that have a direct impact on the people who see their paychecks get smaller, not only would that have a direct impact on people who are unemployed and literally depend on unemployment insurance to pay the bills or keep their home or keep their car. But in terms of macroeconomics, the overall health of the economy, that would have been a damaging thing.

Julianna: Just to follow up. The unemployment rate was just north of 8 percent when the last Recovery Act was put in place. It's now 9.8 percent. Are you prepared to say today that the unemployment rate is going to go down as a result of this package?

The President: My expectation is that the unemployment rate is going to be going down because the economy is growing. And even though it's growing more slowly that I'd like, it's still growing.

Now, how fast it's going to go down, how quickly the economy is going to grow, when are private sector businesses going to start making the investments in plant and equipment and actually start hiring people again? There are a lot of economists out there who have been struggling with that question.

So I'm not going to make a prediction. What I can say with confidence is that this package will help strengthen the economy—will help strengthen the recovery. That I'm confident about.

Chuck Todd.

Chuck Todd: Mr. President, what do you say to Democrats who say you're rewarding Republican obstruction here? You yourself used in your opening statement they were unwilling to budge on this. A lot of progressive Democrats are saying they're unwilling to budge, and you're asking them to get off the fence and budge. Why should they be rewarding Republican obstruction?

The President: Well, let me use a couple of analogies. I've said before that I felt that the middle-class tax cuts were being held hostage to the high-end tax cuts. I think it's tempting not to negotiate with hostage-takers, unless the hostage gets harmed. Then people will question the wisdom of that strategy. In this case, the hostage was the American people and I was not willing to see them get harmed.

Again, this not an abstract political fight. This is not isolated here in Washington. There are people right now who, when their unemployment insurance runs out, will not be able to pay the bills. There are folks right now who are just barely making it on the paycheck that they've got, and when that paycheck gets smaller on January 1st, they're going to have to scramble to figure out, how am I going to pay all my bills? How am I going to keep on making the payments for my child's college tuition? What am I going to do exactly?

Now, I could have enjoyed the battle with Republicans over the next month or two, because as I said, the American people are on our side. This is not a situation in which I have failed to persuade the American people of the rightness of our position. I know the polls. The polls are on our side on this. We weren't operating from a position of political weakness with respect to public opinion. The problem is that Republicans feel that this is the single most important thing that they have to fight for as a party. And in light of that, it was going to be a protracted battle and they would have a stronger position next year than they do currently.

So I guess another way of thinking about it is that if—certainly if we had made a determination that the deal was a permanent tax break for high-income individuals in exchange for these short-term things that people need right now, that would have been unacceptable. And the reason is, is because you would be looking at $700 billion that would be added to the deficit with very little on the short term that would help to offset that.

The deal that we've struck here makes the high-end tax cuts temporary, and that gives us the time to have this political battle without having the same casualties for the American people that are my number one concern.

Chuck Todd: If I may follow, aren't you telegraphing, though, a negotiating strategy of how the Republicans can beat you in negotiations all the way through the next year because they can just stick to their guns, stay united, be unwilling to budge—to use your words—and force you to capitulate?

The President: I don't think so. And the reason is because this is a very unique circumstance. This is a situation in which tens of millions of people would be directly damaged and immediately damaged, and at a time when the economy is just about to recover.

Now, keep in mind, I've just gone through two years, Chuck, where the rap on me was I was too stubborn and wasn't willing to budge on a whole bunch of issues—including, by the way, health care where everybody here was writing about how, despite public opinion and despite this and despite that, somehow the guy is going to bulldoze his way through this thing.

Chuck Todd: Tell that to the left—they weren't happy.

The President: Well, but that's my point. My point is I don't make judgments based on what the conventional wisdom is at any given time. I make my judgments based on what I think is right for the country and for the American people right now.

And I will be happy to see the Republicans test whether or not I'm itching for a fight on a whole range of issues. I suspect they will find I am. And I think the American people will be on my side on a whole bunch of these fights. But right now I want to make sure that the American people aren't hurt because we're having a political fight, and I think that this agreement accomplishes that.

And, as I said, there are a whole bunch of things that they are giving up. I mean, the truth of the matter is, from the Republican perspective, the Earned Income Tax Credit, the college tuition tax credit, the Child Tax Credit—all those things that are so important for so many families across the country—those are things they really opposed. And so temporarily, they are willing to go along with that, presumably because they think they can beat me on that over the course of the next two years.

And I'm happy to have that battle. I'm happy to have that conversation. I just want to make sure that the American people aren't harmed while we're having that broader argument.

Scott Horsley.

Scott Horsley: Thank you, Mr. President. Last week members of your administration were boasting that your willingness to walk away from the Korean negotiations led to a better deal. Can you explain how this is—

The President: The difference is that if I didn't get the Korea deal done on January 1st the taxes of middle-class America wouldn't go up. It's pretty straightforward. If we didn't get the Korea deal done by January 1st, 2 million people weren't suddenly looking at having no way to support their families.

And that's why—this goes to Chuck's question as well about what's going to be different in the future. You've got a situation here that was urgent for millions of people. But as I recall, with the Korea free trade agreement, that was deemed by conventional wisdom as an example of us not getting something done. I remember a story above the fold on that. Then when we got it done with a better deal that has the endorsement of not only the U.S. auto companies but also of labor, the story was sort of below the fold. So I would just point that out. I think—I am happy to be tested over the next several months about our ability to negotiate with Republicans.

Scott Horsley:  Having bought that time now, do you hope to use this two-year window to push for a broader overhaul of the tax code?

The President: Yes. And the answer is yes. Part of what I want to do is to essentially get the American people in a safe place so that we can then get the economy in a stable place. And then we're going to have to have a broad-based discussion across the country about our priorities. And I started doing that yesterday down in North Carolina.

Here's going to be the long-term issue. We've had two years of emergency—emergency economic action on the banking industry, the auto industry, on unemployment insurance, on a whole range of issues—on state budgets. The situation has now stabilized, although for those folks who are out of work, it's still an emergency. So we've still got to focus short term on job growth.

But we've got to have a larger debate about how is this—how is this country going to win the economic competition of the 21st century? How are we going to make sure that we've got the best-trained workers in the world? There was just a study that came out today showing how we've slipped even further when it comes to math education and science education.

So what are we doing to revamp our schools to make sure our kids can compete? What are we doing in terms of research and development to make sure that innovation is still taking place here in the United States of America? What are we doing about our infrastructure so that we have the best airports and the best roads and the best bridges? And how are we going to pay for all that at a time when we've got both short-term deficit problems, medium-term deficit problems, and long-term deficit problems?

Now, that's going to be a big debate. And it's going to involve us sorting out what government functions are adding to our competitiveness and increasing opportunity and making sure that we're growing the economy, and which aspects of the government aren't helping.

And then we've got to figure out how do we pay for that. And that's going to mean looking at the tax code and saying, what's fair, what's efficient. And I don't think anybody thinks the tax code right now is fair or efficient. But we've got to make sure that we don't just paper over those problems by borrowing from China or Saudi Arabia. And so that's going to be a major conversation.

And in that context, I don't see how the Republicans win that argument. I don't know how they're going to be able to argue that extending permanently these high-end tax cuts is going to be good for our economy when, to offset them, we'd end up having to cut vital services for our kids, for our veterans, for our seniors.

But I'm happy to listen to their arguments. And I think the American people will benefit from that debate. And that's going to be starting next year.

Marc Ambinder.

Marc Ambinder: Mr. President, thank you. How do these negotiations affect negotiations or talks with Republicans about raising the debt limit? Because it would seem that they have a significant amount of leverage over the White House now, going in. Was there ever any attempt by the White House to include raising the debt limit as a part of this package?

The President: When you say it would seem they'll have a significant amount of leverage over the White House, what do you mean?

Marc Ambinder:  Just in the sense that they'll say essentially we're not going to raise the—we're not going to agree to it unless the White House is able to or willing to agree to significant spending cuts across the board that probably go deeper and further than what you're willing to do. I mean, what leverage would you have?

The President: Look, here's my expectation—and I'll take John Boehner at his word—that nobody, Democrat or Republican, is willing to see the full faith and credit of the United States government collapse, that that would not be a good thing to happen. And so I think that there will be significant discussions about the debt limit vote. That's something that nobody ever likes to vote on. But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he's going to have responsibilities to govern. You can't just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower.

And so my expectation is, is that we will have tough negotiations around the budget, but that ultimately we can arrive at a position that is keeping the government open, keeping Social Security checks going out, keeping veterans services being provided, but at the same time is prudent when it comes to taxpayer dollars.

Jonathan Weisman, last question.

Jonathan Weisman: Some on the left have questioned—have looked at this deal and questioned what your core values are, what specifically you will go to the mat on. I'm wondering if you can reassure them with some specific things in saying, all right, this is where I don't budge. And along those lines, what's going to be different in 2012, when all these tax cuts again are up for expiration?

The President: Well, what's going to be different in 2012 we've just discussed, which is we will have had two years to discuss the budget—not in the abstract, but in concrete terms. Over the last two years, the Republicans have had the benefit of watching us take all these emergency actions, having us preside over a $1.3 trillion deficit that we inherited and just pointing fingers and saying, that's their problem.

Well, over the next two years, they're going to have to show me what it is that they think they can do. And I think it becomes pretty clear, after you go through the budget line by line, that if in fact they want to pay for $700 billion worth of tax breaks to wealthy individuals, that that's a lot of money and that the cuts—corresponding cuts that would have to be made are very painful. So either they rethink their position, or I don't think they're going to do very well in 2012. So that's on the first point.

With respect to the bottom line in terms of what my core principles are—

Jonathan Weisman: Where is your line in the sand?

The President: Well, look, I've got a whole bunch of lines in the sand. Not making the tax cuts for the wealthy permanent—that was a line in the sand. Making sure that the things that most impact middle-class families and low-income families, that those were preserved—that was a line in the sand. I would not have agreed to a deal, which, by the way, some in Congress were talking about, of just a two-year extension on the Bush tax cuts and one year of unemployment insurance, but meanwhile all the other provisions, the Earned Income Tax Credit or other important breaks for middle-class families like the college tax credit, that those had gone away just because they had Obama's name attached to them instead of Bush's name attached to them.

So this notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care. This is the public option debate all over again. So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for for a hundred years, but because there was a provision in there that they didn't get that would have affected maybe a couple of million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people and the potential for lower premiums for 100 million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise.

Now, if that's the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then let's face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves and sanctimonious about how pure our intentions are and how tough we are, and in the meantime, the American people are still seeing themselves not able to get health insurance because of preexisting conditions or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out.

That can't be the measure of how we think about our public service. That can't be the measure of what it means to be a Democrat. This is a big, diverse country. Not everybody agrees with us. I know that shocks people. The New York Times editorial page does not permeate across all of America. Neither does The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Most Americans, they're just trying to figure out how to go about their lives and how can we make sure that our elected officials are looking out for us. And that means because it's a big, diverse country and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done, we're going to compromise. This is why FDR, when he started Social Security, it only affected widows and orphans. You did not qualify. And yet now it is something that really helps a lot of people. When Medicare was started, it was a small program. It grew.

Under the criteria that you just set out, each of those were betrayals of some abstract ideal. This country was founded on compromise. I couldn't go through the front door at this country's founding. And if we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn't have a union.

So my job is to make sure that we have a North Star out there. What is helping the American people live out their lives? What is giving them more opportunity? What is growing the economy? What is making us more competitive? And at any given juncture, there are going to be times where my preferred option, what I am absolutely positive is right, I can't get done.

And so then my question is, does it make sense for me to tack a little bit this way or tack a little bit that way, because I'm keeping my eye on the long term and the long fight—not my day-to-day news cycle, but where am I going over the long term?

And I don't think there's a single Democrat out there, who if they looked at where we started when I came into office and look at where we are now, would say that somehow we have not moved in the direction that I promised.

Take a tally. Look at what I promised during the campaign. There's not a single thing that I've said that I would do that I have not either done or tried to do. And if I haven't gotten it done yet, I'm still trying to do it.

And so the—to my Democratic friends, what I'd suggest is, let's make sure that we understand this is a long game. This is not a short game. And to my Republican friends, I would suggest—I think this is a good agreement, because I know that they're swallowing some things that they don't like as well, and I'm looking forward to seeing them on the field of competition over the next two years.

Source: TPMlivewire

posted 8 December 2010

Obama Defends Tax Cuts Deal to Liberal Detractors

Press Conference: 7 December 2010

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Obama Defiant in Defending Tax-Cut Plan as ‘Good Deal’—By Sheryl Gay Stolberg and David M. Herszenhorn—7 December 2010— WASHINGTON — President Obama, facing a Democratic revolt over his tax accord with Republicans, defended the package on Tuesday, saying his party’s lawmakers ought to support it as a ‘’good deal for the American people” and that he had no choice but to compromise if he wanted to help the middle class.

With top Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi remaining neutral on the deal—and other Democrats, like Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, decrying it—the president convened a news conference to passionately defend the package, which would extend the Bush-era tax cuts at all income levels for two years while keeping benefits flowing to the long-term unemployed. . . .

Congressional Republicans in recent days have blocked efforts by Democrats to extend the jobless aid, saying they would insist on offsetting the $56 billion cost with spending cuts elsewhere. White House officials said they feared a long standoff that would see benefits end for millions of Americans over the holiday season and in the months ahead.

But Mr. Obama made substantial concessions to Republicans. In addition to dropping his opposition to any extension of the current income tax rates on income above $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals, he agreed to a deal on the federal estate tax that infuriated many Democrats. The deal would ultimately set an exemption of $5 million per person and a maximum rate of 35 percent —a higher exemption and far lower rate than many Democrats wanted.NYTimes

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An imperfect, but not-that-bad, deal on the tax cuts

By Ezra Klein

The White House and the Republicans are pretty close to a final deal on the Bush tax cuts. Here are the specifics, though it's worth saying that as near as this is to completion, it's still not done, and so it could change:

1) The Bush tax cuts get extended for two years—with one ugly surprise: For the next two years, estates up to $5,000,000 will be protected from the estate tax, and the tax rate for the few estates that are taxed will be 35 percent.

That's worse than the 2009 estate tax ($3.5 million exemption, 45 percent rate), though better than this year's "no estate tax at all." The difference in expected revenue between the 2009 levels and the compromise levels is $10 billion or so.

2) The refundable tax credits are extended: The Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit were all pumped up in the stimulus, but set to expire this year. All of them will be extended. Price tag? $40 billion or so.

3) Unemployment insurance gets extended for 13 months: Most observers -- myself included—thought the federal boost to unemployment insurance (which allowed jobless workers in states with high levels of unemployment to collect insurance for up to 99 weeks) would lapse. At best, there'd be another two- or three-month extension. In perhaps the most important part of the deal, there's going to be a 13-month extension at a cost of $56 billion.

4) A 2 percent cut in the payroll taxes paid by employees: This is perhaps the most unexpected part of the compromise. Rather than extending the administration's Making Work Pay tax credit for two years, which would've been worth about $60 billion a year, they've agreed to a one-year cut in the payroll taxes paid by employees, which'll raise $120 billion in 2011. That's a much stronger boost over the next year, and of course these tax cuts have a tendency to get extended ...

5) Business expensing: Remember back in September, when the White House announced a proposal to give businesses two years in which they could deduct 100 percent of the cost of new investments? That's in the deal, too. The cost of this is a bit complicated—it's $30 billion over 10 years, but it works by offering huge tax cuts in the next two years and then paying that back over the next eight. So we're basically trying to shift business investment forward to 2011 and 2012. Over those two years, the tax breaks should be around $200 billion, though because it's a shift rather than a cut, it will have less than $200 billion in impact.

So is this a good deal? It's a lot better than I would've told you the White House was going to get if you'd asked me a week ago. There's some new stimulus in the form of the payroll-tax cut and the expensing proposals. The older stimulus programs that are getting extended—notably the unemployment insurance and the tax credits—probably would've expired outside of this deal. The tax cuts for income over $250,000 are a bad way to spend $100 billion or so, and the estate tax deal is really noxious.

It's bad news for the deficit, though the White House and Congress are right to make the deficit less of a priority than economic recovery. And speaking of that economic recovery? This isn't enough, and it's not well targeted. The deal amounts to the White House throwing some bad money after good. But the end result is between $200 and $300 billion more in tax breaks, tax credits and unemployment insurance than there would've been if not for this deal (I say $200-$300 billion because of the uncertainty over what would've been extended in the absence of this package). That's better than nothing—or to be more specific, better than backsliding.

Most of the money just keeps programs that are currently in effect from expiring, so in some ways, it would be more accurate to say that this money is anti-contractionary rather than stimulative. It's important that the White House doesn't repeat the mistake it made in the original stimulus and overpromise how much this will do for the economy. What you can say about this policy is that, for the moment, it doesn't make things much worse, and it probably makes them a bit better. This is not the government making a major new commitment to the recovery. It's the government not getting in the way, and maybe doing a bit to help, the horribly slow recovery that's happening anyway.

It also, importantly, holds the extensions to two years. The tax cuts for income over $250,000 and the new estate tax rates will expire in 2012. The White House thinks that this'll be a good election issue for them, as it combines a popular, populist stance on taxes with a deficit-reduction message. Whether they're right—and whether they'll fight in 2012 in the way people hoped they'd fight in 2010—remains to be seen. But on a policy level, two-year extensions of bad tax cuts are much preferable to 10-year extensions of bad tax cuts.

And finally, it's something of a hopeful sign: The White House sat in a room with Republicans and Democrats and managed to negotiate an actual compromise. The final deal includes some things that Democrats will like and some things they won't like, and it includes some things Republicans will like and some things they won't like. But it's a deal, and a better one than many—myself included—thought they'd reach. These tax cuts were a bit of a special legislative case, as their scheduled expiration forced action, but if you want to be optimistic, this process suggests that the next two years might be a bit more productive than some of us have been predicting.

Source: WashingtonPost

Below is the rant of MSNBC Keith Oberman. It goes on for five pages (about 2200 words). I will not publish all of it but will provide a taste and a link to the transcript and the video. Much of it is illogical, irrational, and unintelligible. Once I thought the man was sane, balanced, and ironic. But what pours out of his mouth now is a phalanx of bitter sarcasm that borders on putrid hatred of Barack Obama, e.g., comparing Obama to Neville Chamberlain, the British prime minister who attempted to negotiate peace with Hitler. That is just over the top. Keith Oberman has shown himself in this instance to be an exceedingly pompous ass, if not a closet racist.—Rudy

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Obama turned his back on his base

By Keith Oberman

Finally tonight as promised, a Special Comment on the tax compromise. 

To paraphrase Churchill, again, let me begin by saying the most unpopular and most unwelcome thing: "that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road. We should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of American politics and policy have been deranged, and that the terrible words have, for the time being, been pronounced against this Administration : "thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting."

In exchange for selling out a principle campaign pledge, and the people to whom and for whom it was made, in exchange for betraying the truth that the idle and corporate rich of this country have gotten unprecedented and wholly indefensible tax cuts for a decade, in exchange for giving the idle and corporate rich of this country two more years to accumulate still more and more vast piles of personal wealth with which they can buy and sell everybody else . . . .

We are bound to principles. If the individual changes, or fails often and needlessly, then we get a new man. Or woman. None of that is disloyalty. It is self-defense. It is the acknowledgment that, as my hero Thurber wrote, you might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backwards. That is what the base is saying to this President about his presidency. "Well, then, we must not have read the details." The Churchill quotation, as opposed to the quotation from that very senior member of your Administration, Mr. President, is from October 5th, 1938. [The more significant date is 30 September 1938, the signing of the Munich Agreement by Adolf Hitler, Neville Chamberlain, Benito Mussolini and Édouard Daladier.] I don't want to make any true comparison to the historical event to which it related.

The viewer can go ahead and look it up if they wish. I will confess, I won't fight if anybody wants to draw a comparison between what you've done with our domestic politics of our day to what Neville Chamberlain did with the international politics of his. The rest of what Churchill said, paraphrased, but only slightly paraphrased, bears repeating again. The terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against this Administration: "Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting." And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and political vigor, we arise again and take our stand for what is.—MSNBC 

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Why Obama Is Breaking Up With Democrats—By David Swerdlick—9 December 2010—Obama's not a progressive, Democrats are all talk and 2012 is right around the corner. If you need proof that President Barack Obama got what he absolutely had to out of the tax-cut deal he made with congressional Republicans, listen to the sound of silence coming out of Sarah Palin's Twitter feed. That she and Republicans couldn't find anything to immediately blast Obama for explains why he took the ass end of a "compromise" that swapped two more years of Bush-era tax rates for an extension of expiring unemployment benefits. He figured out that Republicans didn't really want tax cuts—they wanted to beat him up with a six-week argument about tax cuts that would run right up until five minutes before the State of the Union. Obama didn't give it to them. That's what he got out of the deal. . . .

Obama Is Not Progressive. Call him a big-government conservative or call him America's City Manager. Liberals have to disabuse themselves of the idea that Obama is caving in on his core principles, because his core principle is being reasonable. Sometimes it works and sometimes not, but as long as progressives keep thinking that he'll "fight back" or "draw a line in the sand," they're doing themselves a disservice and, ironically, clinging to the same belief held by the right: that a Hawaiian with an extra consonant at the end of his name must be a progressive. He's not, and he never really was.—TheRoot 

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House Democrats seek changes to Obama's tax-cut deal—By Lori Montgomery and Shailagh Murray—9 December 2010—The House Democratic Caucus voted Thursday to try to block the tax-cut deal that President Obama struck with Republicans, a move that does not kill the legislation but shows that its opponents are digging in.

Rank-and-file Democrats passed a nonbinding resolution, introduced by Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.), by voice vote that said the tax package should not come to the House floor for consideration. And in her first explicit declaration of dissatisfaction since the tax deal was cut, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi  (D-Calif.) suggested that she would not bring the package to the floor in its current form. . . .

Many Democrats, including [House Majority Whip James E.] Clyburn, the third-ranking House leader, emerged from the meeting saying they could not support the package unless major elements were changed, particularly the estate tax provision.

Most Democrats would prefer to renew the tax, which lapsed last year, with a 45 percent rate on estates worth more than $3.5 million for individuals and $7 million for couples. The Obama-GOP deal would impose a 35 percent tax on estates larger than $5 million for individuals and $10 million for couples for the next two years. If that change were made permanent, it would add $100 billion to deficits over the next decade, Democrats said.

In a forceful presentation, however, [Vice-President Joe] Biden made it clear that big changes are not in the cards. "The vice president said: 'This is the deal. Take it or leave it,' " an irritated Rep. Henry A. Waxman (Calif.) said, paraphrasing Biden.

The tax debate is a central piece of a broader strategy to wrap up the legislative session by Dec. 17. The House and the Senate are scrambling to complete unfinished business. This includes a major resolution to continue funding the federal government through Sept. 30, approved by the House on Wednesday, as well as smaller measures, such as a plan to protect doctors from a sharp cut in Medicare payments, which cleared the Senate by voice vote Wednesday night.

Obama wants the Senate to ratify the New START nuclear arms pact with Russia, but it could face time constraints, depending on whether Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) can find the votes to advance a defense authorization bill that includes a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which bans gays from serving openly in the military. A decision on the Pentagon bill is expected Thursday. Meanwhile, the White House embarked on an aggressive campaign to advance the tax package, issuing a series of announcements touting Democratic endorsements of the legislation. The list included Detroit Mayor Dave Bing; Michael B. Coleman, the mayor of Columbus, Ohio; Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm; Rep. Chet Edwards (Tex.); and Sens. John F. Kerry (Mass.) and Blanche Lincoln (Ark.).WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

An Open Letter to the Left Establishment—to Michael Moore, Norman Solomon, Katrina van den Heuvel, Michael Eric Dyson, Barbara Ehrenreich, Thomas Frank, Tom Hayden, Bill Fletcher Jr., Jesse Jackson Jr.Obama’s recent announcement of a federal worker pay freeze is cynical, mean-spirited “deficit-reduction theater”. Slashing Bush’s plutocratic tax cuts would have made a much more significant contribution to deficit reduction but all signs are that the “progressive” president will cave to Republican demands for the preservation of George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the wealthy Few. Instead Obama’s tax cut plan would raise taxes for the poorest people in our country.

The election of Obama has not galvanized protest movements. To the contrary, it has depressed and undermined them, with the White House playing an active role in the discouragement and suppression of dissent—with disastrous consequences. The almost complete absence of protest from the left has emboldened the most right-wing elements inside and outside of the Obama administration to pursue and act on an ever more extreme agenda.ProtestObama

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Democrats have no choice but to accept an irresponsible tax deal—By Eugene Robinson—10 December 2010—Approve the lousy deal. . . . It's a sad story, for the country and especially for the Democratic Party. I believe the White House continues to underestimate the anger and disillusionment among the party's loyal base—and the need for some victories, or at least some heroic battles, to lift the spirits of the faithful. Obama needs to train his newfound passion and outrage on his foes in the GOP, not on the friends and supporters that his press secretary once derisively called the "professional left." Pyrrhic victories don't make anything better, however. And that's what killing the tax cut deal would clearly be.—WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

Swindle of the year—By Charles Krauthammer—10 December 2010—Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans to boost his own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we're-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility. And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate tax rate of 35 percent—it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1—that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.

No, cries the left: Obama violated a sacred principle. A 39.6 percent tax rate versus 35 percent is a principle? "This is the public option debate all over again," said Obama at his Tuesday news conference. He is right. The left never understood that to nationalize health care there is no need for a public option because Obamacare turns the private insurers into public utilities, thus setting us inexorably on the road to the left's Promised Land: a Canadian-style single-payer system. The left is similarly clueless on the tax-cut deal: In exchange for temporarily forgoing a small rise in upper-income rates, Obama pulled out of a hat a massive new stimulus—what the left has been begging for since the failure of Stimulus I but was heretofore politically unattainable.

Obama's public exasperation with this infantile leftism is both perfectly understandable and politically adept. It is his way back to at least the appearance of centrist moderation. The only way he will get a second look from the independents who elected him in 2008—and abandoned the Democrats in 2010—is by changing the prevailing (and correct) perception that he is a man of the left.—WashingtonPost

*   *   *   *   *

What Progressives Don’t Understand About Obama—By Ishmael Reed—Oakland, California—11 December 2010—What the progressives forget is that black intellectuals have been called “paranoid,” “bitter,” “rowdy,” “angry,” “bullies,” and accused of tirades and diatribes for more than 100 years. Very few of them would have been given a grade above D from most of my teachers.

When these progressives refer to themselves as Mr. Obama’s base, all they see is themselves. They ignore polls showing steadfast support for the president among blacks and Latinos. And now they are whispering about a primary challenge against the president. Brilliant! The kind of suicidal gesture that destroyed Jimmy Carter—and a way to lose the black vote forever.

Unlike white progressives, blacks and Latinos are not used to getting it all. They know how it feels to be unemployed and unable to buy your children Christmas presents. They know when not to shout. The president, the coolest man in the room, who worked among the unemployed in Chicago, knows too.—NYTimes

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Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters

By Barack Obama / Illustrated by Loren Long

 

New Call for Letters for sequel to Go, Tell Michelle‏

By Peggy Brooks-Bertram and Barbara Seals Nevergold

Why White America Perhaps Fears Michelle More Than Barack

Excerpts from a “Jack & Jill politics” newsletter  

Responses to Post-Midterm Elections  / Open Note to President Barack Obama (Jerry W. Ward, Jr.)

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#1 - Justify My Thug by Wahida Clark
#2 - Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree
#3 - Head Bangers: An APF Sexcapade by Zane
#4 - Life Is Short But Wide by J. California Cooper
#5 - Stackin' Paper 2 Genesis' Payback by Joy King
#6 - Thug Lovin' (Thug 4) by Wahida Clark
#7 - When I Get Where I'm Going by Cheryl Robinson
#8 - Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby
#9 - The Sex Chronicles: Shattering the Myth by Zane

#10 - Covenant: A Thriller  by Brandon Massey

#11 - Diary Of A Street Diva  by Ashley and JaQuavis

#12 - Don't Ever Tell  by Brandon Massey

#13 - For colored girls who have considered suicide  by Ntozake Shange

#14 - For the Love of Money : A Novel by Omar Tyree

#15 - Homemade Loves  by J. California Cooper

#16 - The Future Has a Past: Stories by J. California Cooper

#17 - Player Haters by Carl Weber

#18 - Purple Panties: An Eroticanoir.com Anthology by Sidney Molare

#19 - Stackin' Paper by Joy King

#20 - Children of the Street: An Inspector Darko Dawson Mystery by Kwei Quartey

#21 - The Upper Room by Mary Monroe

#22 – Thug Matrimony  by Wahida Clark

#23 - Thugs And The Women Who Love Them by Wahida Clark

#24 - Married Men by Carl Weber

#25 - I Dreamt I Was in Heaven - The Rampage of the Rufus Buck Gang by Leonce Gaiter

Non-fiction

#1 - Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
#2 - Confessions of a Video Vixen by Karrine Steffans
#3 - Dear G-Spot: Straight Talk About Sex and Love by Zane
#4 - Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny by Hill Harper
#5 - Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through by Iyanla Vanzant
#6 - Selected Writings and Speeches of Marcus Garvey by Marcus Garvey
#7 - The Ebony Cookbook: A Date with a Dish by Freda DeKnight
#8 - The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors by Frances Cress Welsing
#9 - The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter Godwin Woodson

#10 - John Henrik Clarke and the Power of Africana History  by Ahati N. N. Toure

#11 - Fail Up: 20 Lessons on Building Success from Failure by Tavis Smiley

#12 -The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

#13 - The Black Male Handbook: A Blueprint for Life by Kevin Powell

#14 - The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore

#15 - Why Men Fear Marriage: The Surprising Truth Behind Why So Many Men Can't Commit  by RM Johnson

#16 - Black Titan: A.G. Gaston and the Making of a Black American Millionaire by Carol Jenkins

#17 - Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell

#18 - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

#19 - John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

#20 - Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 - Age Ain't Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 - 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino
#23 - Chicken Soup for the Prisoner's Soul by Tom Lagana
#24 - 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 - Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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The New Jim Crow

Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

By Michele Alexander

Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama's political success and Oprah Winfrey's financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today... than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don't know the truth about mass incarceration—but her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.—Publishers Weekly

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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