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The neoliberal wing of American liberalism has so thoroughly displaced social democratic

 liberalism that we on the left are now praising the intellectual heir to Barry

Goldwater for simply “raising important issues.”

 

 

Ron Paul a Real Choice for Obama

An Editorial by Rudolph Lewis

 

With respect to America's being a police state that exists to defend privilege, that is written into the Constitution and ably defended in The Federalist.Wilson

 

I quite understand that all states defend themselves and those that they represent. And that this defense occurs through violence or the threat of violence to individuals or groups of individuals. To a degree that is understandable. I do not argue there should be no policing. That is not at this point the core of my protest.

It is the extent of the policing (and violence) that is problematic and the manner in which it is done, e.g., the extent of its intrusiveness, and whom it serves and the extent to which that defense and violence is carried out. What we question in general is the fairness and justice of that policing. In short, I question the ethics of the policing that has been put in place in the last thirty years, particularly since 1982, and more particularly since Obama took over the Bush regime.

Ideally, conditions should be set so that that there should be the least amount of state policing, and conditions established so that there be more individual control and self policing. When policing comes from up down, it is laced with poison that serves the elites. The policing should rather come from the grassroots like all liberty and democracy should come.

The Constitution began with too much policing, too little fairness, and too much injustice. It has had to be continually modified and remains in need of modification for less policing of individuals. But the trend since the War on Drugs and the War on Terror has been going in the opposite direction. The federal government is gaining more and more arbitrary power, an awful intrusion into the classroom, the home between parents and children, between husband and wife. As a result, most cities today are armed camps with Big Brother watching through blue lights flashing on every ghetto corner. Prison building is a billion-dollar industry. Now we manufacture criminals to justify policing.

Electronic surveillance has gotten out of hand. Now they want to put cops in cyberspace. I contacted my congressman and senators and told them to keep their hands off the internet and their cops out of cyberspace.

I have no argument with you, my friends. What I say you already know. . . . My problem is with people who cannot see behind or before or to the side. They are narrow and shallow. They are the ones who think that Ron Paul is somehow more racist than a Newt or a Mitt or most of the elected officials in this country. They keep forgetting that white privileges remain despite civil rights and voting rights bills and that race remains, more or less, a permanent aspect in the Constitution and statues and laws of this country, especially in the judicial branch of government. Ron Paul's libertarianism is not for reinstituting Jim Crow.

From my view, Paul is no more racist than most of those who sit on the federal or state or local benches (black or white), no more racist than most legislators federal, state, local (black or white). There is more going on in Paul than any other Republican candidate.

Paul is anti-imperial expansion as an American ideal and against foreign wars that serve primarily the Pentagon with its trillion-dollar yearly budget, crazed generals, and gunmakers. Ron Paul stands out and above liberals in his foreign policy criticism. I stand with him in these matters. I have been against U.S. wars since I was 19. I resisted the draft that would have sent me to Vietnam in 1968. I was encouraged in my stance against war when MLK thought it detrimental but necessary to speak out against militarism, poverty, as well as racism. Too many black leaders today have forgotten this King and focused their energies more on creating black millionaires and racial privileges than dealing with the perennial problems of grassroots poverty and powerlessness.

Paul realizes the expansion of the federal government has been disastrous to the quality of our lives—in areas such as education, criminal justice, economic prosperity, and individual liberties. Paul,  in contrast, to his GOP compatriots, is courageous enough to speak in public debate about this near fascist political crisis, fearlessly.

For some this federal intrusion began with the Communist witch-hunt of the 1950s. For others who remember the 1960s, the FBI is doing a COINTELPRO against all American citizens, not as in the past just against the Panthers and other left-wing groups. These federal limitations and domestic wars on individual liberties were expanded during Reagan's terms with massive arrests at home, accelerated during Clinton's three strikes movement, and Bush's two terms with massive military spending at home (on police forces for Homeland Security) and abroad (with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq).

The Federal policing has accelerated during Obama's presidency, with deportation of over 400,000 Mexicans in 2011. Mr. Obama has continued Bush's warmongering (in Afghanistan, Yemen, Libya and other African countries) and he has extended the Patriot Act and instituted other military acts that violate national sovereignty to murder and assassinate using drones and contracted forces, and he has recently signed a law that allows detentions of American citizens, indefinitely (NDAA). I stand with Mr. Paul in denouncing the Obama administration's attacks on civil liberties and its sustaining and boasting of unlawful acts of warmongering, without seeking the assent of Congress.

From my perspective, Newt is muddy. Mitt does not have an inkling. They are both much more or less like Obama with respect to Wall Street economics and warfare. We will have more political education in a Paul v. Obama presidential contest than in any other combination in the field. In Paul v Obama, we will have a real choice. I am sure in that instance I would vote but uncertain for which candidate I would vote.

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The NDAA's Historic Assault on American Liberty—2 January 2012—Jonathan Turley's Blog—By signing into law the NDAA, the president has awarded the military extraordinary powers to detain US citizens without trial—President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment, to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country … and citizens partied in unwitting bliss into the New Year. Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely (see the text of the statement here). Obama insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops. It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. As discussed earlier, the White House told citizens that the president would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. That spin ended after sponsor Senator Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan) went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House and insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision.—CommonDreams

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Ron Paul, Obama, and the Liberal Dilemma

By Rodney Foxworth

 

16 January 2012

One of the more bemusing cultural and political occurrences I’ve observed over the past few years was the premature canonization of Barack Obama by some in the liberal and progressive set. Turning to satire and humor, I believe that Aaron McGruder captured this sentiment brilliantly in "Dick Riding Obama Music Video By Will I. Am."

I recall vividly the day following Obama’s presidential victory and only feeling mild elation. I very much wanted to feel more ecstatic about his victory given the symbolic win it represented for racial progress and equity against white supremacy and hegemony, but my excitement fell flat. Perhaps my cynicism got the best of me–it often does–and I was unable to balance a largely symbolic victory with the realities plaguing the African-American community at-large.

In the years following, I have come to realize something else, something that escaped me on the morning of November 5, 2008: While words like hope and change are inspiring following eight years of warmongering and growing economic inequality, they are simply words, and there was little evidence–beyond the rhetoric, and certainly not found in his voluminous writing–that Obama represented a truly progressive political direction. I say this as a liberal possessing a decidedly social democratic perspective, not the neoliberal globalist ideology that has dominated the modern Democratic Party and much of the left for quite some time. Obama was mistakenly identified by the left as something of a progressive messiah, when he has always been a centrist, New Democrat. Supporters of Obama will argue that he campaigned to the left of Hillary Clinton, herself a neoliberal stalwart, but in 2012, political insiders suggest that a Clinton vice-presidency will ensure Obama another four years in the White House.

Now it is Ron Paul, with his tireless advocacy for civil liberties, impassioned stance against imperialism and war, that has captured the attention of many liberals and progressives. And while these issues–civil liberty, imperialism, and war–are largely absent from the national dialogue, you can’t, as Tim Wise notes, “separate the man from his movement,” and Paul’s regressive libertarianism should be seen as an affront to progressive liberalism. Rather than be satisfied that Paul is injecting these issues into political discourse–albeit from a libertarian perspective–we on the left should be more concerned that, as political scientist Corey Robin writes,

Our problem—and again by “our” I mean a left that’s social democratic (or welfare state liberal or economically progressive or whatever the hell you want to call it) and anti-imperial—is that we don’t really have a vigorous national spokesperson for the issues of war and peace, an end to empire, a challenge to Israel, and so forth, that Paul has in fact been articulating.  The source of Paul’s positions on these issues are not the same as ours (again more reason not to give him our support).  But he is talking about these issues, often in surprisingly blunt and challenging terms. Would that we had someone on our side who could make the case against an American empire, or American supremacy, in such a pungent way. [italics by Editor]

As Robin points out, Paul’s articulation and construction of these issues is not the same as those on the progressive left–and this is a critically important point, one that seems lost by those of us on the left who admire Paul’s position on these issues. Robin argues quite powerfully that Paul’s distinct form of libertarianism leads to social disaster and that Ron Paul is,

[U]nacceptable, and it’s unacceptable that we don’t have someone on the left who is raising the issues of imperialism, war and peace, and civil liberties in as visible and forceful a way.

And while Paul continues to raise these issues, there fails to be a progressive liberal critique of his positions. This is alarming for many reasons, not the least of which because Paul’s states-rights-based libertarianism does nothing to advance progressive liberalism—and in fact, is much more of an impediment than representative of an ally or benign interloping.

Glenn Greenwald is right to say that,

[O]n many issues that progressives themselves have long claimed are of critical, overarching importance (not all, but many), there will be virtually no debate in the election because there are virtually no differences between the two candidates and the two parties on those questions. In the face of that fact, there are two choices: (1) simply accept it (and thus bolster it) on the basis that the only political priority that matters is keeping the Democratic Party and Barack Obama empowered; or (2) searching for ways to change the terms of the debate so that critical views that are now excluded by bipartisan consensus instead end up being heard. [italics by Editor]

However, Ron Paul does not support critical views on the issues of imperialism, war and peace, and civil liberties that are aligned with progressive liberal or social democratic perspective. Paul has—successfully?—raised these issues, but his critical view of civil liberties, for example, includes repealing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

And from the black perspective, I intuitively agree with Tim Wise when he suggests,

I want those of you who are seriously singing Paul’s praises, while calling yourself progressive or left to ask what it signifies—not about Ron Paul, but about you—that you can look the rest of us in the eye, your political colleagues and allies, and say, in effect, “Well, he might be a little racist, but . . .  How do you think that sounds to black people, without whom no remotely progressive candidate stands a chance of winning. . . . How does it sound to them—a group that has been more loyal to progressive and left politics than any group in this country—when you praise a man who opposes probably the single most important piece of legislation ever passed in this country . . . ?

But where Tim and I diverge is that I care very little that Ron Paul might be racist. Rather, I reject an ideology—conservative libertarianism—that opposes, in purely intellectual terms, the merits of the defining legislation of the Civil Rights Movement. Ron Paul draws comparisons to former Arizona senator, 1964 Republican presidential nominee, and seminal conservative political leader Barry Goldwater, a dangerous comparison that continues to go unacknowledged by many on the left—and it’s a frightening prospect to consider as an African-American. Martin Luther King, Jr. said of Goldwater,

While not himself a racist, Mr. Goldwater articulated a philosophy which gave aid and comfort to the racist. His candidacy and philosophy would serve as an umbrella under which extremists of all stripes would stand. In the light of these facts and because of my love for America, I had no alternative but to urge every Negro and white person of goodwill to vote against Mr. Goldwater and to withdraw support from any Republican candidate that did not publicly disassociate himself from Senator Goldwater and his philosophy.

That philosophy is conservative libertarianism and Paul is its leading proponent. Ben Adler, contributing writer for The Nation, is correct to describe Paul as a Goldwater conservative. It is quite difficult, then, as an African-American progressive with a social democratic bent, to applaud Ron Paul. It is less difficult for some of my peers, but this shouldn’t be the case: it is not simply a matter of prioritizing “anti-imperialism” and right to due process (a civil liberty) above Civil Rights (also a civil liberty), but about competing political philosophies and ideologies. There is a social democratic critique of imperialism and civil liberties to be made, and the left ought to be constructing it.

The initial acceptance of Obama’s corporatist neoliberalism and now the tepid tolerance toward Paul’s conservative (I say, regressive) libertarianism by the left suggests that there is little left, left. The neoliberal wing of American liberalism has so thoroughly displaced social democratic liberalism that we on the left are now praising the intellectual heir to Barry Goldwater for simply “raising important issues.”

What we ought to be asking ourselves is why are there virtually no differences between the two major parties on these issues? I would argue that it is because neoliberal globalism has displaced social democratic liberalism as the dominant faction of the left—leaving us with progressive liberals who are made eager to become bedfellows, however strangely, with regressive libertarians.

Source: RodneyFoxworth

Blacks for Ron Paul…? / Dick Riding Obama Music Video By Will I. Am

Blacks for Obama? Don’t Assume That Anymore (Harris)

Exploring Romney's Shifting Stances

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Taxes at the Top—Paul Krugman—19 January 2012—The main reason the rich pay so little is that most of their income takes the form of capital gains, which are taxed at a maximum rate of 15 percent, far below the maximum on wages and salaries. So the question is whether capital gains — three-quarters of which go to the top 1 percent of the income distribution — warrant such special treatment.

Defenders of low taxes on the rich mainly make two arguments: that low taxes on capital gains are a time-honored principle, and that they are needed to promote economic growth and job creation. Both claims are false. When you hear about the low, low taxes of people like Mr. Romney, what you need to know is that it wasn’t always thus—and the days when the superrich paid much higher taxes weren’t that long ago. Back in 1986, Ronald Reagan—yes, Ronald Reagan—signed a tax reform equalizing top rates on earned income and capital gains at 28 percent. The rate rose further, to more than 29 percent, during Bill Clinton’s first term. Low capital gains taxes date only from 1997, when Mr. Clinton struck a deal with Republicans in Congress in which he cut taxes on the rich in return for creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And today’s ultralow rates—the lowest since the days of Herbert Hoover—date only from 2003, when former President George W. Bush rammed both a tax cut on capital gains and a tax cut on dividends through Congress, something he achieved by exploiting the illusion of triumph in Iraq.

Correspondingly, the low-tax status of the very rich is also a recent development. During Mr. Clinton’s first term, the top 400 taxpayers paid close to 30 percent of their income in federal taxes, and even after his tax deal they paid substantially more than they have since the 2003 cut. . . . And the economic record certainly doesn’t support the notion that superlow taxes on the superrich are the key to prosperity. During that first Clinton term, when the very rich paid much higher taxes than they do now, the economy added 11.5 million jobs, dwarfing anything achieved even during the good years of the Bush administration. So Mr. Romney’s tax dance is doing us all a service by highlighting the unwise, unjust and expensive favors being showered on the upper-upper class. —NYTimes

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Ron Paul Mounts Challenge to Indefinite DetentionAllGov.com—20 January 2012— Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul took a break from his campaign to come out in opposition to the bill signed into law by President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve that allows the indefinite detention of any terrorism suspect, including Americans arrested in the U.S. . . . According to Paul, the legislation could undermine the right to due process and allow the military to act "as a kind of police force on U.S. soil, apprehending terror suspects, including Americans, and whisking them off to an undisclosed location indefinitely." . . . The wording of the act, although carefully phrased, is nonetheless clear, and allows the president of the United States to define "supporters" of terrorism as he sees fit and to imprison whomever he chooses.—ReaderSupportedNews

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Supreme Court Rules Warrants Required for GPS Tracking—The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled police must obtain a search warrant in order to track a suspect’s movements with GPS. On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled for the first time that police monitoring through attaching a GPS to a suspect’s vehicle is a constitutionally protected search. The ruling marked a defeat for the Obama administration, which had fought to overturn an appeals court ruling that warrants are required. In a statement, the American Civil Liberties Union called the decision "an important victory for privacy," adding: "The Court acknowledged that advancing technology, like cell phone tracking, gives the government unprecedented ability to collect, store and analyze an enormous amount of information about our private lives."—Seeingblack

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Iran slams EU oil embargo, warns could hit U.S.—23 January 2012—The United States, which imposed its own sanctions against Iran's oil trade and central bank on Dec. 31, welcomed the EU move, as did Israel. It has warned it might attack Iran if sanctions do not deflect Tehran from a course that some analysts argue could potentially give Iran a nuclear bomb next year.—Reuters

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Obama delivers a confrontational State of the Union address—The president opens an election-year debate on the role of government, drawing contrasts with Republicans on taxes for the wealthy and mortgage refinancing.—David Lauter—24 January 2012— Only a few months ago, many voters had seemed on the verge of writing Obama off. But in recent weeks, two developments have given him a chance to ask those voters for another look. One is the economy, which has started to show signs of improvement— declining unemployment, rising consumer confidence and reduced levels of household debt. The other is the way the Republican primary race recently has focused on the vast wealth (and relatively low tax burden) of the party's sometimes front-runner, Mitt Romney.

Obama drove straight at the wealth issue with the signature proposal of his speech: a minimum tax for millionaires that formed part of his call for all Americans to pay their "fair share." The proposal, requiring people with incomes of more than $1 million to pay at least 30% in taxes, would conveniently — administration officials insist coincidentally —double the taxes that Romney paid last year, according to the tax return the former Massachusetts governor released earlier in the day.

Similarly, the speech's other major domestic proposal—a plan to make mortgage refinancings more available to homeowners who owe more than their homes' value— would insert the government more directly into the housing market. Republicans have adamantly resisted higher taxes on those they term "job creators." And they have called for the federal government to get out of the housing market entirely, saying that federal involvement has only made the country's foreclosure crisis worse.—LaTimes

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Dear Friends, last evening Mr. Obama gave Newt Gingrich a lesson in how one throws red meat to the mob. See below.
 
You may note the construction of his Address: it begins and ends with US militaristic bravado. Speaking of flipping the script, the murdered becomes the murderer and the murderer the hero who knows how to complete his mission with a trillion-dollar budget.
 
Who can tolerate in any good conscience this kind of chest-beating? America is Back? A large wealthy nation with a military more powerful than China, Russia, UK, China and a dozen other nations put together and Mr. Obama has the damn gall to boast of battering and disrupting and decimating fourth and fifth rate nations. Yet those peoples have the courage and fortitude to bog down a great nation for over a decade.
 
Back? Poverty growing in black communities by leaps and bounds, wealth continuing to rush upward on Wall Street! What a vacuous and arrogant boast! What outrageous theatrical superficiality!
 
And we think we are getting a bargain when the nation's wealth is ripped from the nation's poor and transferred into the hands of greedy elites or dropped as deadly bombs on the weak and impoverished! And we eat up as if we have been given cake!
 
To paraphrase Nikki Giovanni, "Do we have any shame?" Peace Be Still!Rudy (25 January 2012)

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Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address—24 January 2012—We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.  For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.  Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.  The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home. . . . As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli.  A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictatorsa murderer with American blood on his hands.  Today, he is gone.  And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied. 

How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain.  But we have a huge stake in the outcome.  And while it’s ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well.  We will stand against violence and intimidation.  We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beingsmen and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews.  We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.

And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests.  Look at Iran.  Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one.  The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.

Let there be no doubt:  America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations. The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe.  Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever.  Our ties to the Americas are deeper.  Our ironclad commitmentand I mean ironcladto Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.

We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope.  From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. . . .

One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.  On it are each of their names.  Some may be Democrats.  Some may be Republicans.  But that doesn’t matter.  Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gatesa man who was George Bush’s defense secretaryand Hillary Clintona woman who ran against me for president.  All that mattered that day was the mission.Whitehouse

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Obama renews anti-Iran war rhetoric—25 January 2012—US President Barack Obama has once again renewed threats against Iran, saying that Washington will maintain pressure on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution. The bill requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with the CBI and oil sector or with the US financial sector.The US sanctions, as well as unilateral embargoes imposed on Iran's energy and financial sectors by Britain and Canada, came after the IAEA issued a report on the Iranian nuclear program in early November 2011, accusing Tehran of seeking to weaponize its nuclear technology.—PressTV

Ralph Nader Reviews Obama's State of the Union Speech

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Romney Paid Low Rate on Millions in Investment Income—Mitt Romney has released tax forms showing he paid an effective tax rate of 15.4 percent last year and an even lower rate of 13.9 percent the year before—substantially lower than the rate of most working Americans. Overall, Romney reported income of $43.6 million for 2010 and 2011, virtually all of it from investments. Romney’s charitable contributions included $4.1 million to the Mormon Church.

Also, ABC News has revealed Romney has hidden tens of millions of dollars in offshore tax havens in the Cayman Islands. Romney is said to have invested more than $33 million in more than a dozen funds listed in the Caymans, while his former company, Bain Capital, holds 138 accounts there. Although Romney would still pay U.S. taxes on any investment income, the use of the tax havens would grant him other financial benefits including greater foreign investment.—Seeingblack

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Gingrich Confronts History in the South—William Loren Katz—25 January 2012—“It’s not that I’m a good debater. It’s that I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people,” announced the victorious Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. Republican voters [only 2% were African Americans] saw his tough, angry, racial language as straight talking. He eagerly strummed racial themes—Black urban pupils serve as assistant janitors to learn what is really needed in school which is how to stick to a job, make and spend money. And then he suggested the urban poor need to get a job and learn decent work habits rather than accept handouts from the “greatest food stamp president.” He was also comfortable with violent rhetoric.

To a voter who suggested he punch President Obama in the mouth, he responded, “I’d like to knock him out!” As for the Second Amendment—it is “not just for hunting pheasants” but a “political right.” He tongue-lashed a TV journalist for questioning his casual approach to marriage. He not only slapped down the African American Fox News’ moderator Juan Williams for questioning his racial appeals, but then ran his rant against the African American as a campaign add. Gingrich is the winner, and so is his in-your-face, openly racial, campaign style. We have repeatedly tried to walk away from this kind of divisive, nasty politics.—Counterpunch

Monkeys and Stimulus Bills

The build-up began of course with Obama’s entry into the presidential primaries that brought so many death threats the Secret Service provided him earlier protection than any candidate in history. Rupert Murdoch was an eager participant. On May 25, 2008 his Fox TV News co-anchor Liz Trotta in New York signed off her Sunday evening news broadcast by urging that “somebody knock off Osama, um, Obama—well both, if we could.” On February 18th 2009 the day after now President Obama signed the Stimulus Package, New Yorkers awoke to a cartoon in Murdoch’s New York Postthat showed two white policemen identifying the dead chimpanzee they just shot as the author of the stimulus package. Does a comment on a TV news broadcast heard by millions, or a newspaper cartoon seen by tens of thousands simply disappear into the night, or does it linger?

Gingrich’s words in praise of General Andrew Jackson’s red-meat belligerence in South Carolina are worth thinking about, and have a personal revulsion for me. On January 16th he lectured voters on history. “South Carolina and the Revolutionary War had a young 13-year-old named Andrew Jackson. He was sabred by a British officer and wore a scar his whole life. Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America’s enemies: Kill them!” The crowd loudly approval.William Loren Katz, Counterpunch

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Remarks by the President in State of the Union AddressJanuary 2012And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.  The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose:  Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.

So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you’re no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits.  You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you failbecause the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again. And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices—those days are over.  Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job:  To look out for them. 

We’ll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments.  Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender.  That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.  So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count. 

And tonight, I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.  This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. 

Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy.  But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.—whitehouse

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Government Cuts Heating Assistance to 1 Million Homes—Claudio E. Cabrera—7 January 2012—It's going to be a cold winter for many across the nation. Congress and the White House have cut heating assistance to nearly 1 million homes in the Low Income House Energy Assistance Program [LIHEAP]. The program, which provides families with incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty line, or 60 percent of a state's median income, will be reduced in funding by 25 percent. Most households receive an average of $417 a month for heating expenses.

LIHEAP reached nearly 9 million households in 2011, and at least one member of each family who applied for the subsidy was older than 60, younger than 18 or disabled. A gallon of heating oil costs $3.83 and is at the highest its been since 1990. . . . A few members of Congress battled the cuts in this bill. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) urged the White House to set funding at $4.7 billion for his forthcoming 2013 budget proposal. The senators wrote a letter to the president that included the following: Even though the number of households eligible for the program continues to exceed those receiving assistance, this funding has been a lifeline during the economic downturn and rising energy costs, helping to ensure that people do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food or medicine." The cut in funding in this legislation is just another example of the have-nots being shafted by the government.TheRoot

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Close Ties to Goldman Enrich Romney’s Public and Private Lives—Nicholas Confessore, Peter Lattman, and Kevin Roose—27 January 2012— When Bain Capital sought to raise money in 1989 for a fast-growing office-supply company named Staples, Mitt Romney, Bain’s founder, called upon a trusted business partner: Goldman Sachs, whose bankers led the company’s initial public offering. When Mr. Romney became governor of Massachusetts, his blind trust gave Goldman much of his wealth to manage, a fortune now estimated to be as much as $250 million.  And as Mr. Romney mounts his second bid for the presidency, Goldman is coming through again: Its employees have contributed at least $367,000 to his campaign, making the firm Mr. Romney’s largest single source of campaign money through the end of September.

No other company is so closely intertwined with Mr. Romney’s public and private lives except Bain itself. And in recent days, Mr. Romney’s ties to Goldman Sachs have lashed another lightning rod to a campaign already fending off withering attacks on his career as a buyout specialist, thrusting the privileges of the Wall Street elite to the forefront of the Republican nominating battle. . . . But other elements of Mr. Romney’s personal and business ties to Goldman may prove more controversial. Bain’s mid-1990s acquisition of Dade Behring, a medical device maker with factories in Florida, has become a totem of the economic upheaval that private equity can inflict. Goldman invested in the acquisition, which brought the bank $120 million and Bain $242 million—but led to the layoffs of hundreds of workers in Miami.

Democrats hammered Mr. Romney over the deal this week. When Mr. Romney was building Bain into one of the world’s premier private equity firms, Goldman’s bankers clamored for Bain business, and won assignments advising or financing an array of Bain deals, including Bain’s 1997 $800 million buyout of Sealy, the nation’s largest mattress company, which it later sold. As Mr. Romney amassed his fortune, Goldman also offered up the services of an elite Boston-based team in the bank’s private wealth management unit. The relationship gave him access to Goldman’s exclusive investment funds, including private equity vehicles known as Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.NYTimes

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Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich for president—Kim Geiger—28 January 2012— Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich for president Saturday night in what was billed as a surprise appearance by the retired pizza chain executive. “I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for president of the United States,” Cain said in a brief speech at the Palm Beach County GOP Party Lincoln Day Dinner in West Palm Beach, Fla. . . .  “One of the biggest reasons is the fact that I know that Speaker Gingrich is a patriot,” Cain said. “Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas. And I also know that Speaker Gingrich is running for president, and going through this sausage grinder—I know what this sausage grinder is all about. I know that he’s going through this sausage grinder because he cares about the future of the United States of America. We all do.”

Cain dropped out of the Republican presidential race in December after repeated allegations that he had inappropriate.—LaTimes

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Paul pursued strategy of publishing controversial newsletters, associates say—Jerry Markon and Alice Crites—27 January 2012—A person involved in Paul’s businesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid criticizing a former employer, said Paul and his associates decided in the late 1980s to try to increase sales by making the newsletters more provocative. They discussed adding controversial material, including racial statements, to help the business, the person said. “It was playing on a growing racial tension, economic tension, fear of government,’’ said the person, who supports Paul’s economic policies but is not backing him for president. “I’m not saying Ron believed this stuff. It was good copy. Ron Paul is a shrewd businessman.’’

The articles included racial, anti-Semitic and anti-gay content. They claimed, for example, that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “seduced underage girls and boys’’; they ridiculed black activists by suggesting that New York be named “Zooville” or “Lazyopolis”; and they said the 1992 Los Angeles riots ended “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.’’ The June 1990 edition of the Ron Paul Political Report included the statement: “Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

It is unclear precisely how much money Paul made from his newsletters, but during the years he was publishing them, he reduced his debts and substantially increased his net worth, according to his congressional and presidential disclosure reports. In 1984, he reported debt of up to $765,000, most of which was gone by 1995, when he reported a net worth of up to $3.3 million. Last year, he reported a net worth of up to $5.2 million.—WashingtonPost

Donald Ritchie—Foundations of the U. Senate

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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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American Creation

Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic

By Joseph J. Ellis

This subtle, brilliant examination of the period between the War of Independence and the Louisiana Purchase puts Pulitzer-winner Ellis (Founding Brothers) among the finest of America's narrative historians. Six stories, each centering on a significant creative achievement or failure, combine to portray often flawed men and their efforts to lay the republic's foundation. Set against the extraordinary establishment of the most liberal nation-state in the history of Western Civilization... in the most extensive and richly endowed plot of ground on the planet are the terrible costs of victory, including the perpetuation of slavery and the cruel oppression of Native Americans. Ellis blames the founders' failures on their decision to opt for an evolutionary revolution, not a risky severance with tradition (as would happen, murderously, in France, which necessitated compromises, like retaining slavery). Despite the injustices and brutalities that resulted, Ellis argues, this deferral strategy was a profound insight rooted in a realistic appraisal of how enduring social change best happens. Ellis's lucid, illuminating and ironic prose will make this a holiday season hit.— Publishers Weekly /  American Creation (Joseph Ellis interview)

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The Revolution: A Manifesto

By Ron Paul

Congressman, Republican Presidential candidate and author Paul (A Foreign Policy of Freedom) says "Let the revolution begin" with this libertarian plea for a return to "the principles of our Founding Fathers: liberty, self-government, the Constitution, and a noninterventionist foreign policy." Specific examples demonstrate how far U.S. law has strayed from this path, particularly over the past century, as well as Paul's firm grasp of history and dedication to meaningful debate: "it is revolutionary to ask whether we need troops in 130 countries . . . whether the accumulation of more and more power in Washington has been good for us . . . to ask fundamental questions about privacy, police-state measures, taxation, social policy." Though he can rant, Paul is informative and impassioned, giving readers of any political bent food for thought. With harsh words for both Democrats and Republicans, and especially George W. Bush, Paul's no-nonsense text questions the "imperialist" foreign policy that's led to the war in Iraq ("one of the most ill considered, poorly planned, and . . . unnecessary military conflicts in American history"), the economic situation and rampant federalism treading on states' rights and identities ("The Founding Fathers did not intend for every American neighborhood to be exactly the same"). Though his policy suggestions can seem extreme, Paul's book gives new life to old debates.—Publishers Weekly

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King of the Mountain

The Nature of Political Leadership

By Arnold M. Ludwig

“People may choose to ignore their animal heritage by interpreting their behavior as divinely inspired, socially purposeful, or even self-serving, all of which they attribute to being human, but they masticate, fornicate, and procreate, much as chimps and apes do, so they should have little cause to get upset if they learn that they act like other primates when they politically agitate, debate, abdicate, placate, and administrate, too."—from the book King of the Mountain presents the startling findings of Arnold M. Ludwig's eighteen-year investigation into why people want to rule. The answer may seem obvious—power, privilege, and perks—but any adequate answer also needs to explain why so many rulers cling to power even when they are miserable, trust nobody, feel besieged, and face almost certain death. Ludwig's results suggest that leaders of nations tend to act remarkably like monkeys and apes in the way they come to power, govern, and rule. Profiling every ruler of a recognized country in the twentieth century—over 1,900 people in all­­, Ludwig establishes how rulers came to power, how they lost power, the dangers they faced, and the odds of their being assassinated, committing suicide, or dying a natural death. Then, concentrating on a smaller sub-set of 377 rulers for whom more extensive personal information was available, he compares six different kinds of leaders, examining their characteristics, their childhoods, and their mental stability or instability to identify the main predictors of later political success. Ludwig's penetrating observations, though presented in a lighthearted and entertaining way, offer important insight into why humans have engaged in war throughout recorded history as well as suggesting how they might live together in peace.

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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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posted 19 January 2012

 

 

 

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