2012 Election Campaign Table

2012 Election Campaign Table


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



2012 Election Campaign Table




ChickenBones is covering another election campaign. In the Obama presidential run we kept a skeptical eye on the Democratic primaries Obama 2008It was historic filled with a hopeful and wondrous enthusiasm. Now, the Democrats already have their nominee packaged in the White House. This time around 2012 it is the GOP which has stolen the spotlight in their primaries. It was probably the most bizarre bit of electioneering that the nation has ever seen. It was great comedy and theater with the leading character Mitt Romney moving the Republican Party as close to the Tea Party, that is, to the right so as to contrive a GOP that hardly anyone recognizes as sane other than a third of America, which has more or less has lost its grip on truth and integrity and good citizenship.

We have published a few pieces already on the libertarian Ron Paul, the fantastic Cain, pious Santorum, and the enterprising Gingrich. Romney has come out on top and is heading toward the Republican Convention and Obama is readying himself for the Democratic Convention. By Labor Day Romney and Obama and their supporters will be off to the races and the November finish line. I hope that we can serve our audience by cutting off the most spicy segments of this journey.

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Obama for America campaign 

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 For  Campaign information

Current view of the 2012 presidential election

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Why Romney Beat Obama—Margaret Kimberley—10 October 2012—Unfortunately, most Democrats still refuse to admit what happened right before their eyes. While criticizing the president’s debate performance they were not willing to admit that the Obama who stood on stage is the real Obama. Stripped of a script he was laid bare before the world, an empty suit devoid of any conviction except the desire to stay in office.

The debate allowed the previously bumbling Romney to suddenly look capable and gave many people new reason to give him serious consideration. Obama needed only to look presidential in order to live up to expectations but is now facing a serious challenge because he isn’t as slick as he thought.

It is unlikely that Barack Obama will allow himself to be bested more than once. No one with a small ego becomes president of the United States. But the question isn’t really whether or not he will turn in a better performance. Instead it is whether Democrats will believe their eyes and ears and accept that the real Barack Obama is in fact the man they saw on stage. —


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America the Greatest Nation on Earth (Lewis)

Avoiding Phony Religiosity, Listening to Him (Obama)

Bain Is just Chapter One in the Book of Romney

Banishing Cain and Triple Nines

Blues at the White House

Capitalism the Beautiful: Bean Bags and Goldilocks‏ (Lewis)

Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity

Cory Booker Nauseated and Private Equity Romney

Federalist and Fourteenth Amendment  (Wilson)

The Founding Fathers Versus the Tea Party (Chernow)

How to Read Political Racial Code

Ignorance, Facts, and Betrayal of the Dream (Wilson)

Make-or-Break Moment (Obama)

Mitt Romney Holds ‘Extreme Views’ (Feller)

NAACP Takes Voting Rights ID Issue to United Nations

Not voting for Obama (Dantò)

Obama Apologist Harris-Perry Says Support Prez (Ford)

Obama Bound for Mount Rushmore? (Ford)

Obama Loses Cool At Black Caucus Dinner

Parable of the Parrot (Marvin X)

Raising Cain  


The Reagan Doctrine of National Suicide  (Wilson)

The Real Michael Steele  (Williams)

Romney Fish Mouth Wide Open (Discussion)

Ron Paul a Real Choice for Obama  


Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, and the Constitution   


Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination

Tea Party, Schmee Party  (Wilson)

Top Ten Catholic Teachings Santorum Ignores (Cole)

A Time for Peace: A Time for War  (Wilson)

The Truth Matters (Michele Obama speech)

Witches, Bitches, and Niggers

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Related files

Can Soldiers Tell Us Anything about Lincoln?

Derrick Bell Law Rights Advocate  Dies at 80 

Glen Ford

Money is Speech (Wilson)

Myths of Low-Wage Workers     

The New Paradigm for Financial Markets

Nigeria and White Supremacy    

Optimism in The First Black President 

Press Release from United for a Fair Economy

The Return of Newt Gingrich  (Ugochukwu)

Skip Gates and the Talented Fifth

Which U.S. Presidents Owned Slaves? 

White Privilege

White Privilege, White Entitlement, Election 2008

White Nationalism Black Interests

White Power


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Thurston Howell

Romney—David Brooks—17 September 2012—Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey. It says that Romney doesn’t know much about the political culture. Americans haven’t become childlike worshipers of big government. On the contrary, trust in government has declined. The number of people who think government spending promotes social mobility has fallen. The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor. Romney’s comments also reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact. . . .

The Republican Party, and apparently Mitt Romney, too, has shifted over toward a much more hyperindividualistic and atomistic social view—from the Reaganesque language of common citizenship to the libertarian language of makers and takers. There’s no way the country will trust the Republican Party to reform the welfare state if that party doesn’t have a basic commitment to provide a safety net for those who suffer for no fault of their own.


nytimes  / Thurston_Howell

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Touré Apologizes for Romney ‘Niggerization’ Comment—19 August 2012—On Friday, culture critic Touré found himself apologizing for the words that came out of his mouth on Thursday during a political discussion on cable news channel, MSNBC. As we previously reported, Touré—one of the co-hosts of the network’s “The Cycle”— accused Mitt Romney of “using racial coding” to “other” President Barack Obama with “really deep stereotypes about the angry black man.” “I know it’s a heavy thing,” he said. “I don’t say it lightly, but this is ‘niggerization’.”

Now he’s walked back his comment with an apology: “On yesterday’s show, in discussion about the presidential race, I used a word to make a point. In retrospect, I muddied the discussion by using the N word. I could’ve made my point without that word. I shouldn’t have used it, and for that I’m sorry.” Touré was discussing Romney’s speech in Ohio on Tuesday, in which the Republican nominee described the President as “angry and desperate.” Romney also characterized the President’s campaign as divisive and hateful.—web

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The Truth Matters

By Michele Obama

Like so many American families, our families weren’t asking for much. They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success or care that others had much more than they did…in fact, they admired it. They simply believed in that fundamental American promise that, even if you don’t start out with much, if you work hard and do what you’re supposed to do, then you should be able to build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids. That’s how they raised us…that’s what we learned from their example. We learned about dignity and decency—that how hard you work matters more than how much you make . . . that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself. We learned about honesty and integrity—that the truth matters . . . that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules . . . and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.


wall street journal    9/4/12

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Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Warning about Today’s Republicans—FDR tells the truth about the leaders of the modern Republican Party. Somehow, in 1936, he foresaw what would be happening NOW

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), also known by his initials, FDR was the 32nd President of the United States (1933–1945) and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic depression and total war. The only American president elected to more than two terms, he facilitated a durable coalition that realigned American politics for decades. With the bouncy popular song “Happy Days Are Here Again” as his campaign theme, FDR defeated incumbent Republican Herbert Hoover in November 1932, at the depth of the Great Depression. Energized by his personal victory over paralytic illness, FDR’s unfailing optimism and activism contributed to a renewal of the national spirit. He worked closely with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin in leading the Allies against Germany and Japan in World War II, but died just as victory was in sight.—wikipedia

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Ignorance, Facts, and Betrayal of the Dream

A ChickenBones Commentary on the 2012 Presidential Election


Remembering Ancestors / Ceremonies Middle Passage

Obama’s Biggest Lead Over Romney Since March—Simon Jackman—9 September 2012—Today’s release of Rasmussen’s tracking poll showed Obama leading Romney by four points, 49 percent to 45 percent (interviews spanning Sept. 6 to Sept. 8). What makes this result especially noteworthy is that Rasmussen’s results tends to skew in a pro-Republican direction, by as much as a percentage point or more; thus, their Obama +4 result is likely an underestimate of Obama’s lead over Romney at the moment. Ipsos/Reuters and Gallup are also reporting Obama +4 results over essentially the same field periods. . . .

There is a reasonable amount of uncertainty in the state-by-state estimates of voting intentions, which in turn means the Electoral College estimate is itself subject to considerable uncertainty. Nonetheless, the probability that Obama would win 270 Electoral College votes or more is about 85 percent.

Two “set pieces” of the campaign are behind us: the Veep announcement and the conventions. Neither produced a sizeable shift towards Romney, at least in the national polling. Romney may be running out of opportunities to sway public opinion his way.—huffingtonpost

Bill Clinton full DNC Speech 2012

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Barack Obama:

The Great Need

of the Hour

The Fierce Urgency of Now   (Boggs)   


Victory Speech in South Carolina  (video)  

Race Game in South Carolina

 Victory Speech in South Carolina  (video)


Obama’s Grandmother (video)

Obama in New Orleans]]> (video) / Obama Prayer (Drake)  / 

GlobalNews   Amazon Author Stores

Middle Passage (Drake) / Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African-American Poetry  (Ward)

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CNN camerawoman ‘not surprised’ by incident—Patricia Carroll: ‘People think we’re gone further than we have’—30 August 2012—Black CNN camerawoman Patricia Carroll, who was assaulted both verbally and physically by two people at the Republican National Convention, has spoken out about the event today. “I can’t change these people’s hearts and minds,” Patricia said. “No, it doesn’t feel good, but I know who I am. I’m a proud Black woman.” Patricia was covering the convention when two attendees began throwing peanuts at her and yelling, “This is how we feed animals.”

The two hecklers were removed from the event by Tampa police. Many people, both Democrat and Republican, have publicly denounced their behavior. The 34-year-old Alabama resident spoke to the Maynard Institute about the incident. Although it happened on Republican turf, Patricia asserted that racism isn’t a partisan problem.

“This situation could happen to me at the Democratic convention or standing on the street corner. Racism is a global issue,” said Patricia who emphasized the scarcity of Black people, particularly women, at these events. “You come to places like this, you can count the Black people on your hand,” she said. “They see us doing things they don’t think I should do.”— s2smagazine / witchesbrew

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Romney-Ryan and their forces will carry the day—I think Ryan is a brilliant choice.   First of all he is white.   He is also young and smart.   He used to be a disciple of Ayn Rand until he figured out that he is a Catholic, and Catholics are not supposed to support the atheistic Ayn Rand.   But he is still a social Darwinist, not having figured out that Catholics aren’t supposed to be Social Darwinists. 

Wikipedia says: At an Atlas Society meeting celebrating Ayn Rand‘s life in 2005, Ryan said that “The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand”, and “I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are, and what my beliefs are. It’s inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.” In response to criticism from Catholic leaders, in 2012 Ryan distanced himself from Rand’s Objectivist philosophy, telling National Review, “I reject her philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview,” and noting that his views were more aligned with those of the Roman Catholic philosopher and saint, Thomas Aquinas, than Ayn Rand. “Don’t give me Ayn Rand,” he said in 2012.

He is an anti-government ideologue, who sees debt reduction as the important emotional issue that can unite at least 51% of Americans. He knows that the only way to reduce debt without raising taxes is to privatize social security and Medicare.   He and Romney are already spreading the hype that Obama has cut Medicare and threatens to do away with it.  

Ryan and Romney are a couple of photogenic white guys, who will appeal to the grannies.   Who cares what a bunch of nuns think.   The Catholic Bishops have denounced the Ryan Budget, but who cares about the Bishops.   Besides the Bishops are more stoutly opposed to Obama over women’s issues, than opposed to Ryan budget.  

Besides the average American has never heard of Goldman Sachs or Bain Capitol, and if they are under 35 probably have never heard of Medicare. So Romney-Ryan and their forces will carry the day.—Anonymous   

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The Hunted Democrat—Andrew Romano—10 August 2012—We’re in the midst of a perfect storm of secretive spending. After McCain-Feingold banned unlimited, unregulated, undisclosed contributions to the parties themselves, the big bucks began to flow to 527s (the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth) and 501(c)(4)s (the Club for Growth). At that point, there were still some restrictions on how and when the cash could be spent. But Citizens United and a couple of related Supreme Court decisions swept away most of the rules; today, super PACs and social-welfare groups can accept unlimited amounts of money from corporations and individuals and spend it pretty much however they please. The 501(c)(4)s, such as Crossroads GPS and Priorities USA, don’t even have to disclose their donors.

As a result, experts project that overall spending could top $11 billion in 2012, more than double the 2008 total. And because there are fewer pesky legalities this time around—and because loaded Republicans feel far more powerless and persecuted than their Democratic counterparts—conservative groups are expected to drop more than $1 billion on the presidential race alone. When the Joe Biden spam bot warns about “the other side spend[ing] us into oblivion,” this is what he (or it) is referring to.

But there’s a deeper, less familiar story here, too. For all Chicago’s complaining, the impact of outside money on the national contest may wind up being minimal; the polls have been static so far, and after a certain point, there are only so many hundreds of millions of dollars that can be pumped into the Denver ad market. Where the cash could make the biggest difference, however, is on the state level. “Dropping $15 million into the presidential race won’t be determinative,” says Rick Hasen, an expert on campaign finance at the University of California, Irvine. “Dropping $15 million into a Senate race will be a bombshell.”—thedailybeast

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Three For Three  Poland Doesn’t Like Romney Either—Abby Zimet—Did He Think We Wouldn’t Notice Dept: It’s heartening to see labor call the anti-union Romney on the blinding hypocrisy of his visit with Poland’s Lech Walesa. Romney was snubbed by Solidarity, which has supported Wisconsin  labor struggles and declared it “did not invite him to visit Poland,” and blasted by the AFL-CIO for trying to “walk the walk of a friend of working people… Romney remains an out-of-touch voice of, by and for the richest 1%.” “Regretfully, we were informed by our (American) friends… that Mitt Romney supported attacks on trade unions and employees’ rights.”—Solidarity statement.—commondreams

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Romney upsets Palestinians on Israel trip—30 July 2012—Having publicly pledged to protect Israel, US presidential candidate Mitt Romney has stirred controversy by telling Jewish donors their culture is part of what has allowed them to be more economically successful than the Palestinians.  Romney, seated next to billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson at a fundraising breakfast, said he had read books and relied on his own business experience to understand why the difference between Israel and the Palestinian territories is so great.

“And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognise the power of at least culture and a few other things,” Romney said, citing an innovative business climate, the Jewish history of thriving in difficult circumstances and the “hand of providence”.

The reaction of Palestinian leaders was quick and strong. “What is this man doing here? Yesterday, he destroyed negotiations by saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and today he is saying Israeli culture is more advanced than Palestinian culture. Isn’t this racism? Israelis and Palestinians have a conflict, but they are people, they are equal, it is not a better culture or advanced culture,” said Saeb Erekat, a top Palestinian official. “It’s Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that’s why Palestinians cannot realise their potential.”



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Thanks to Gary Moton and apologies to Carly Simon for subverting/converting/messing

with her words just to get a laugh (and, maybe, provoke some thought). I had something. 

I thought it was Carol King.  Uh oh! (Chuck Siler)

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Republican Jobs Bills Won’t Actually Create Jobs, Say Economists—24 July 2012—At the heart of the GOP jobs package is a push for rolling back regulations—and gutting environmental laws that regulate clean air and water—to spur job growth. The House Republican Conference website makes the argument that deregulation will “remove onerous federal regulations that are redundant, harmful to small businesses, and impede private sector investment and job creation.” . . . Not all of the GOP proposals are focused on environmental deregulation. A handful call for weakening the authority of the National Labor Relations Board as a way to boost businesses’ savings, which could, in theory, then be reinvested in new jobs. But Burtless said those proposals are more likely to impact those currently working than those seeking work. . . . Even one of the more popular bills in the mix—a small business tax cut—won’t do much for job creation, some of the economists said. They argued that it’s not that businesses need more money for hiring, but that they need a sufficient demand for their products. . . .

“It’s game playing to try to pretend like they’re doing something,” said Jesse Rothstein, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s silly season, and so they know they have to put up something that has the label ‘job creation’ on it, whether or not it would work.”—

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Policy and the Personal—Paul Krugman—15 July 2012—The story so far: Former President George W. Bush pushed through big tax cuts heavily tilted toward the highest incomes. As a result, taxes on the very rich are currently the lowest they’ve been in 80 years. President Obama proposes letting those high-end Bush tax cuts expire; Mr. Romney, on the other hand, proposes big further tax cuts for the wealthy.

The impact at the top would be large. According to estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, the Romney plan would reduce the annual taxes paid by the average member of the top 1 percent by $237,000 compared with the Obama plan; for the top 0.1 percent that number rises to $1.2 million. No wonder Mr. Romney’s fund-raisers in the Hamptons attracted so many eager donors that there were luxury-car traffic jams.

What about everyone else? Again according to the policy center, Mr. Romney’s tax cuts would increase the annual deficit by almost $500 billion. He claims that he would make this up by closing loopholes, in a way that wouldn’t shift the tax burden toward the middle class—but he has refused to give any specifics, and there’s no reason to believe him. Realistically, those big tax cuts for the rich would be offset, sooner or later, with higher taxes and/or lower benefits for the middle class and the poor. So as I said, this election is, in substantive terms, about the rich versus the rest, and it would be doing voters a disservice to pretend otherwise.—nytimes

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The Media and Bain—Armando—15 July 2012—Despite concerted attempts by the Media and its “factcheckers” to dismiss the Bain story, Mitt Romney has blown it so badly that it is now the Media issue of the campaign. While Romney is clearly suffering badly under the Obama onslaught on Bain (mostly I submit, due to his own political incompetence—how in blazes does he expect to distance himself from Bain—the company he founded, owned and ran for 25 years? The very company that is basically his “economic” credential? Incredible political incompetence), so too are the “factcheckers”, who have become subjects of ridicule and lampooning at this point.

The tipping point was the Boston Globe story on Bain’s SEC’s filings from 1999 to 2002, which listed Romney as the CEO, Chairman of the Board and sole stockholder of the company while earning at minimum, $100,000 a year for serving as Bain CEO. Since then other articles and information have come out that pretty much point to Romney having a continuing involvement with Bain during that period. Let me say that that is as it should be given Romney’s retention of the titles mentioned above.

If he wasn’t involved, one would have to question Romney’s basic competence. But for whatever reason, Romney has chosen to lie about his role in Bain from the 1999 to 2002 period, making the story much bigger than it would have been—it now becomes about Romney’s character as well as his policies (See Krugman for why discussion of Bain by the Obama campaign makes sense in the larger political narrative regarding the GOP-Romney policy of taking from the poor and the middle class to give more to the rich.)

A somewhat surprising casualty of the Bain story is the “factcheckers”, who look like complete fools (or worse.) In particular, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, who has been bombarded with ridicule for his assertion that the Bain SEC filings describing Romney as CEO, Chairman of the Board and sole stockholder as not being relevant to whether Romney was involved with Bain. It’s gotten so bad that Kessler wrote a personal defense of his writings on the subject. . . .

Beyond being a perverse way to think about the issue, it also misses this very important point—as long as Romney remained the CEO, Chairman of the Board and sole stockholder of Bain, it was within his power to dictate what deals and actions Bain did or did not do. Being charitable, let’s assume that Romney did not formulate any policies or actions for Bain during that 3 year period.  This does not mean he could not have. He clearly had the legal power to act. If he chose not to, then that is an act of control. Romney “controlled” Bain as we understand the term legally and as a matter of common sense. . . .

Kessler wrote “The years 1999-2002 are a gray period in Romney’s life.” Perhaps in some ways, but not regarding the fact that Romney had the power at Bain during that period. It seems clear that Kessler consulted experts to support HIS OPINION, not to actually discover the facts: I consulted with securities law experts who have many years of experience with these particular SEC filings. One expert pointed out that the titles are basically meaningless, that someone can be listed as a chief executive and have no responsibilities whatsoever.

This is nonsense. If someone is listed as CEO and has “no responsibilities whatsoever,” then THAT FACT needs to be disclosed. It is a material issue and listing someone as CEO who has “no responsibilities whatsoever” without explaining this reality is a false and misleading statement that violates the securities laws.

Beyond that, a CEO serves at the pleasure of a Board of Directors (Romney was Chairman of the Board), who in turn serves at the pleasure of the stockholders (Romney was the sole stockholder of Bain.) It requires strains that would make political campaigns red faced to make the argument that Kessler, ostensibly a “factchecker,” makes here. The question is why did Kessler destroy his own reputation on this story? Personally, I have hard time explaining it. I predict it will get worse for Romney AND Kessler on this story.—dailykos

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George Will, Matthew Dowd Blast Romney for Not Releasing Tax Returns—15 July  2012—ABC News’ George Will slammed presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for failing to fully release information on his tax returns and offshore accounts, saying Romney “must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd agreed, saying “there’s obviously something there” in Romney’s returns that he doesn’t want public. “If something’s going to come out, get it out in a hurry,” Will said this morning on the “This Week” roundtable. “I do not know why, given that Mitt Romney knew the day that [John] McCain lost in 2008 that he was going to run for president again that he didn’t get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest.” “He’s done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots that’s impolitic,” Will added.

“And he’s now in the politics business.” Will said Romney is “losing [the argument] at this point in a big way” in the debate over his tax returns, which the Obama campaign has hammered on in the past week. “The cost of not releasing the returns are clear,” Will said. “Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in releasing them.” Romney released his 2010 tax returns earlier this year during the Republican primaries, and has said he plans to release his 2011 returns later this year, after filing for an extension. But Romney has never publicly released past years of tax returns, either during his 2008 presidential run, while he was governor of Massachusetts, or during his 1994 Massachusetts Senate race. Romney did, however, reportedly provide 23 years of his tax returns to the McCain campaign when they considered him for vice president in 2008.




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Audience At Mitt Romney’s NAACP Speech

photo by Grace Wyler 11 July 2012

NAACP Boos Mitt Romney For Saying He’d Repeal Obamacare—Grace Wyler—11 July 2012—Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney got loud and sustained boos from the audience at the NAACP conference this morning over his suggestion that he would repeal “Obamacare,” President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law.  Here’s where Romney drew boos:

“I will reduce government spending,” Romney said. “Our high level of debt slows GDP growth and that means fewer jobs. If our goal is jobs, we must, must stop spending over a trillion dollars more than we earn. To do this, I will eliminate expensive non-essential programs like Obamacare, and I will work to reform and save Medicare and Social Security, in part by means-testing their benefits.”—businessinsider

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Toon by Chuck Siler

NAACP Official: Romney Flew in Black Supporters To Back Him During Speech to Civil Rights Group—Gene Demby—12 July 2012—Did Mitt Romney bring in supporters to cheer him on during his Wednesday speech to the NAACP? That’s the charge made by Hilary Shelton, who heads up the Washington, D.C., chapter of the NAACP. Shelton told Ed Schultz on MSNBC Wednesday night that Romney flew in supporters to Houston to applaud him at the civil rights group’s annual convention.

“The campaign actually gave me a list of African-American VIPs that they brought in to the NAACP meeting,” Shelton told Schultz. “So, I’m sure those are the ones they sat down with because, quite frankly, none of the rank-and-file NAACPers met with him.” After the speech, Romney said that he had African-American supporters at the convention who spoke with him privately and expressed their support.—huffingtonpost

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Swing states poll: Amid barrage of ads, Obama has edge—Susan Page—9 July 2012—At this point, Obama is the clear winner in the ad wars. Among swing-state voters who say the ads have changed their minds about a candidate, rather than just confirmed what they already thought, 76% now support the president, vs. 16% favoring Romney.

“We gave them new information,” says Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. “Romney had been out there claiming success as governor,” but Democratic ads have prompted voters to “take a look at his record” on job creation and as head of the private-equity firm Bain Capital. Messina also credits a $25 million buy for a positive ad “about the challenges the president inherited and what we had to do to move this country forward.”

To be sure, Obama’s ads have done more to win back Democrats than to win over independents or Republicans: Thirteen percent of Democrats say their minds have been changed by ads, compared with 9% of independents and 3% of Republicans.

Romney pollster Neil Newhouse calls the findings unsurprising. “It is expected to find that more voters say their views have changed about Mitt Romney; they simply don’t know him all that well,” he says. “On the other hand, there are few voters who are going to say their views have changed about President Obama. They know him pretty damned well.”—usatoday

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How William Faulkner Tackled Race and Freed the South from Itself—John Jeremiah Sullivan—28 June 2012—I found it fascinating to read the book [Absalom, Absalom!] with a president sitting in the White House who comes from a mixed-race marriage, and with the statistic having just been announced that for the first time in U.S. history, nonwhite births have surpassed white ones. Some of the myths out of which the novel weaves its upsetting dreams appear quite different, like walking by a familiar painting and finding that someone has altered it.

This is a strange time to be alive in America, in that regard. Close one eye, and we can seem to be moving toward a one-race society; close the other and we seem as racially conflicted and stratified as ever. Racism is still our madness. The longer that remains the case, the more vital this book grows, for Faulkner is one of the great explorers of that madness.

The novel [

Absalom, Absalom!

]  is about even more than that in the end. It attempts something that had never been tried before in the art of fiction, and as far as I know has never been since, not in so pure a form—to dramatize historical consciousness itself, not just human lives but the forest of time in which the whole notion of human life must find its only meaning. Not to have failed completely at such a task is indistinguishable from triumph. The South escaped itself in this book and became universal.—nytimes

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Don’t be fooled: Americans are starting to embrace ObamaCare—Juan Williams—

3 July 2012

— Watching President Obama’s response to Thursday’s Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of his health care reform law, I could not help but think how different things would be if he had given the same speech two years ago. He began his remarks from the White House by saying the Court had “reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America—in the wealthiest nation on Earth—no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin.” Reaffirmed? 

If you ask most Americans, they will tell you the president and his party never made that point in the first place. All the talk was about “Cornhusker Kickbacks” and “Chicago-style politics,” to win votes in Congress. GOP critics hammered the plan as a “big government takeover” and “socialism.”

 But with last week’s Supreme Court ruling in favor of the health care plan public opinion on the plan is starting to become more favorable.

On Sunday Reuters released a poll showing 48 percent of registered voters now back the bill. That is up five percent since the ruling. That includes a bump in support among independent voters from 27 percent to 38 percent.  And even opposition among Republicans, who overwhelmingly hate it, went down five percentage points from 86 percent to 81 percent.

And those numbers are likely to keep rising. Also, GOP critics are now on the defensive. They have to talk about specific benefits in the law and how they could do better if they repeal the law. That is going to be hard for Republicans once Americans personally start reaping the benefit of the law. . . .

Chief Justice John Roberts has not only given ObamaCare the imprimatur of constitutionality, he has given the president license to brag about his bill on the campaign trail.




Juan Williams Muzzled Interview

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Obama Rejects CBC Criticism “I will tell you that I think the most important thing I can do for the African-American community is the same thing I can do for the American community, period, and that is get the economy going again and get people hiring again,” the president said. In further stressing a broader view the president said: “I think it’s a mistake to start thinking in terms of particular ethnic segments of the United States rather than to think that we are all in this together and we are all going to get out of this together.” On Wednesday, 10 members of the black caucus boycotted a key House committee vote on financial reform. The group said it would push harder for Congress and the White House to tackle problems including an unemployment rate for blacks of 15.7%, higher than the national rate of 10.2%. “We can no longer afford for our public policy to be defined by the worldview of Wall Street,” members of the caucus said in a statement Wednesday. “Policy for the least of these must be integrated into everything that we do.”—RealDealTalk


Make the Lie Big and Simple: Repeat and Repeat

Hitler’s avowed aim was to establish a New Order of absolute Nazi German hegemony in continental Europe. His foreign and domestic policies had the goal of seizing Lebensraum (living space) for the Germanic people. He oversaw the rearmament of Germany and the invasion of Poland by the Wehrmacht in September 1939, which led to the outbreak of World War II in Europe.

Under Hitler’s direction, German forces and their European allies at one point occupied most of Europe and North Africa. These gains were reversed in 1945 when the Allied armies defeated the German army.

Hitler’s racially motivated policies resulted in the deaths of as many as 17 million people, including an estimated six million Jews and between 500,000 and 1,500,000 Roma targeted in the Holocaust

In the final days of the war, during the Battle of Berlin in 1945, Hitler married his long-time mistress, Eva Braun. On 30 April 1945—less than two days later— the two committed suicide to avoid capture by the Red Army, and their corpses were burned.—Wikipedia

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Ballad of Roosevelt

 By Langston Hughes

The pot was empty,

The cupboard was bare.

I said, Papa,

What’s the matter here?

I’m waitin’ on Roosevelt, son,

Roosevelt, Roosevelt,

Waitin’ on Roosevelt, son.

The rent was due,

And the lights was out.

I said, Tell me, Mama,

What’s it all about?

We’re waitin’ on Roosevelt, son,

Roosevelt, Roosevelt,

Just waitin’ on Roosevelt.

Sister got sick

And the doctor wouldn’t come

Cause we couldn’t pay him

The proper sum—

A-waitin on Roosevelt,

Roosevelt, Roosevelt,

A-waitin’ on Roosevelt.

Then one day

They put us out o’ the house.

Ma and Pa was Meek as a mouse

Still waitin’ on Roosevelt,

Roosevelt, Roosevelt.

But when they felt those

Cold winds blow

And didn’t have no

Place to go

Pa said, I’m tired

O’waitin’ on Roosevelt,

Roosevelt, Roosevelt.

Damn tired o‘ waitin’ on Roosevelt.

I can’t git a job

And I can’t git no grub.

Backbone and navel’s

Doin’ the belly-rub—

A-waitin’ on Roosevelt,

Roosevelt, Roosevelt.

And a lot o’ other folks

What’s hungry and cold

Done stopped believin’

What they been told

By Roosevelt,

Roosevelt, Roosevelt—

Cause the pot’s still empty,

And the cupboard’s still bare,

And you can’t build a


Out o’ air—

Mr. Roosevelt, listen!

What’s the matter here?

Source: Langston Hughes, “Ballad of Roosevelt,” New Republic 31 (November 14, 1934)

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The Negro Speaks of Rivers

                                By Langston Hughes


I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the

     flow of human blood in human veins.


My soul has grown deep like the rivers.


I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln

     went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen its muddy

     bosom turn all golden in the sunset.


I’ve known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers.


My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

*   *   *   *   *

Written in 1920

Source: Includes audio of Hughes reading

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Supreme Court upholds Obamacare

Chief Justice Roberts Provides Swing Vote in 5-4 Decision

28 June 2012



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Obama Campaign Says It Outraised Romney Post-Supreme Court Decision, But Won’t Give Specifics—29 Jun 2012—President Obama’s campaign claims to have outraised Mitt Romney in online donations since the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to uphold the president’s health law was handed down. But they won’t say by how much.

Mitt Romney campaign reports that they have received 47,000 donations to the sum of $4.6 million dollars in support of a repeal of the law, and that the number is still growing. . . . “That’s not the point,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt. Democrats want to focus instead on their argument that Romney hasn’t offered specifics about how would replace the law if elected.

“It’s perverse that Mitt Romney wont share details about what he’d do for the millions he’d leave uninsured or at the whims of insurance companies when he ‘kills Obamacare dead,’ but he’ll  share the hourly details of his fundraising after the Supreme Court ruling,” said LaBolt.  “We’ve outraised the Romney campaign in that time period but that’s not the point—our supporters are more committed than ever to ensuring that insurance companies can’t drop coverage for people who get sick or discriminate against people with preexisting conditions by reelecting the President.”—abcnews

Black Caucus Walkout On Republican Vote to Charge Eric Holder with “Contempt of Congress”

From left, Representative Terri Sewell, D-AL, Representative John Lewis, D-GA, House minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Representative Bobby Rush, D-IL, Representative Eliot Engel, D-NY, Representative Luis Gutierrez, D-IL, and other House Democrats leave Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 28, 2012, in protest of a House vote holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

What Pelosi and the Black Caucus Get About the Next GOP Strategy—John Nichols—29 June 2012— Issa got the House vote he wanted. The chamber voted 255 (238 Republicans, seventeen NRA Democrats) to 67 (65 Democrats, 2 Republicans) to hold Holder in contempt. But the real story was that 100 members of the House—ninety-nine of them Democrats—chose not to participate in the Congressional charade. Most of those who did not participate in Issa’s piece of performance art were members of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The most powerful image of the day was the actual walkout by the objectors, with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, joining civil rights icon John Lewis, D-Georgia, and Luis Gutierrez, the Illinois Democrat who is a key Hispanic Caucus spokesperson on border and immigration issues, leading the way.

Pelosi seems to have been genuinely influenced by the focus and determination of the Black Caucus members who refused to play Issa’s game. “I’m very moved by the members of the Congressional Black Caucus who say they are going to walk out on this,” Pelosi said on the House. “Walk out on this. Perhaps that’s the best way. How else can we impress upon the American people [the absurdity of the circumstance] without scaring them about what is happening here?”

It is the best way. There are some charades that responsible members of Congress should not join in—even as objectors. After all, as Pelosi says, “It’s Eric Holder one day, you don’t know who it is next.”—


List of the 17 Democrats who voted to hold Holder in contempt...  / GOP-led House holds Holder in contempt of Congress

Congressional Black Caucus Leads Democrats n Walk Out Of Attorney General Contempt Vote

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Health Care Spending in the United States and Selected OECD Countries—April 2011

It is reasonably well known that the United States spends more per capita on health care than other countries. What may be less well known is that the United States still has one of the highest growth rates in health care spending. Health care spending around the world is generally rising faster than overall economic growth, so almost all countries have seen health care spending increase as a percentage of their gross domestic product (GDP) over time. In the United States, which has both a high level of health spending per capita and a relatively high rate of real growth in spending, the share of GDP devoted to health care spending grew from 9% of GDP in 1980 to 16% of GDP in 2008. This 7 percentage-point increase in health spending as a share of GDP is one of the largest across the OECD.—

*   *   *   *   *

Voter Suppression in 2012 Past is Prologue—Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III—In 1870 Congress ratified the 15th Amendment to the Constitution which declared, “The right of citizen’s of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” In response to this Amendment a number of former Confederate states employed devices such as the poll tax, literacy tests, the grandfather clause, and white primaries to ensure that African American’s were denied their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote. When these devices failed, tactics such as night rides, bombings, lynching, and other terrorist tactics were used to intimidate prospective African American voters.

After years of struggle in the courts, legislatures, and the streets, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibiting “covered jurisdictions” from imposing any “voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure . . . to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.” Some of the jurisdictions covered by the Act are in Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Before he signed the 1965 Act Johnson explained, “This act flows from a clear and simple wrong. Its only purpose is to right that wrong. Millions of Americans are denied the right to vote because of their color. This law will ensure them the right to vote.”

Today this ugly part of America’s past has once again become its present. As a result of Republican’s taking control of statehouses after the 2010 mid-term elections, a number of states such as Alabama, South Carolina, Texas, Mississippi (sound familiar) and others have enacted laws imposing new restrictions for voter ID, voter registration, and early voting.

According to the report Voting Law Changes in 2012 from the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, these new restrictions will have a disproportionate impact on younger voters, people of color, low-income voters, and those with disabilities. It’s no coincidence that these demographics also tend to vote for Democrats. According to The NY Times, “It has been a record year for new legislation designed to make it harder for Democrats to vote — 19 laws and two executive actions in 14 states dominated by Republicans…”—blackagendareport

*   *   *   *   *

Texas Trying to Reverse Major Victory of Civil Rights Movement—8 July 2012—The Voting Rights Act—a cherished safeguard for minority voters since 1965—has been under siege for two years and this week faces one of its toughest test on an apparent path to the U.S. Supreme Court. Twenty-five hours of argument, starting on Monday and spread over five days, will help the judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia decide whether Texas can require voters to present a photo identification at the polls.

Formulated at a time of racial turmoil, the Voting Rights Act passed 77-19 in the U.S. Senate and 333-85 in the House of Representatives. The votes transcended party lines to protect black voters of all political ideals.Ever since, it has served as the U.S. government’s chief check on the fairness of election rules imposed by local governments. While it passed with bipartisan support more than 45 years ago, a shift in political preferences along racial lines has turned the landmark piece of civil rights era legislation into a highly charged political issue. In the 1960s, Democrats held a monopoly of voters in the Southern states. But since then, most white Southern voters have shifted allegiances to the Republican Party, while black and Hispanic voters moved further toward the left.—atlantablackstar

*   *   *   *   *

GOP Donor Sheldon Adelson Investigated for Suspicious Activities—Matt Isaacs, Lowell Bergman and Stephen Engelberg—17 July 2012—A decade ago gambling magnate and leading Republican donor Sheldon Adelson looked at a desolate spit of land in Macau and imagined a glittering strip of casinos, hotels and malls. Where competitors saw obstacles, including Macau’s hostility to outsiders and historic links to Chinese organized crime, Adelson envisaged a chance to make billions. Adelson pushed his chips to the center of the table, keeping his nerve even as his company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in late 2008.

The Macau bet paid off, propelling Adelson into the ranks of the mega-rich and underwriting his role as the largest Republican donor in the 2012 campaign, providing tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP causes.

Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries.

Internal email and company documents, disclosed here for the first time, show that Adelson instructed a top executive to pay about $700,000 in legal fees to Leonel Alves, a Macau legislator whose firm was serving as an outside counsel to Las Vegas Sands.

The company’s general counsel and an outside law firm warned that the arrangement could violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It is unknown whether Adelson was aware of these warnings. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act bars American companies from paying foreign officials to “affect or influence any act or decision” for business gain.


*   *   *   *   *

 Racism: A History, the 2007 BBC 3-part documentary explores the impact of racism on a global scale. It was part of the season of programs on the BBC marking the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the British Empire. It’s divided into 3 parts.

The first, The Colour of Money . . . Racism: A History [2007]—1/3

Begins the series by assessing the implications of the relationship between Europe, Africa and the Americas in the 15th century. It considers how racist ideas and practices developed in key religious and secular institutions, and how they showed up in writings by European philosophers Aristotle and Immanuel Kant.

The second, Fatal Impact . . . Racism: A History [2007] – 2/3

Examines the idea of scientific racism, an ideology invented during the 19th century that drew on now discredited practices such as phrenology and provided an ideological justification for racism and slavery. The episode shows how these theories ultimately led to eugenics and Nazi racial policies of the master race.

And the 3rd, A Savage Legacy . . .  Racism: A History [2007] – 3/3

Examines the impact of racism in the 20th century. By 1900 European colonial expansion had reached deep into the heart of Africa. Under the rule of King Leopold II, the Belgian Congo was turned into a vast rubber plantation. Men, women and children who failed to gather their latex quotas would have their limbs dismembered. The country became the scene of one of the century’s greatest racial genocides, as an estimated 10 million Africans perished under colonial rule.

*   *   *   *   *’s 25 Best Selling Books



#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 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


#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

*   *   *   *   *

It’s The Middle Class Stupid!

By James Carville and Stan Greenberg

It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! confirms what we have all suspected: Washington and Wall Street have really screwed things up for the average American. Work has been devalued. Education costs are out of sight. Effort and ambition have never been so scantily rewarded. Political guru James Carville and pollster extraordinaire Stan Greenberg argue that our political parties must admit their failures and the electorate must reclaim its voice, because taking on the wealthy and the privileged is not class warfare—it is a matter of survival. Told in the alternating voices of these two top political strategists, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! provides eye-opening and provocative arguments on where our government—including the White House—has gone wrong, and what voters can do about it. 

Controversial and outspoken, authoritative and shrewd, It’s the Middle Class, Stupid! is destined to make waves during the 2012 presidential campaign, and will set the agenda for legislative battles and political dust-ups during the next administration.

*   *   *   *   *


Absalom, Absalom! 

By William Faulker

Absalom, Absalom!

 is Faulkner’s great novel of the rise and fall of the Sutpen dynasty and a great allegory of the rise and fall of the Old South. The book told through three interconnected narratives tells the life story of Thomas Sutpen. The narratives are not straight forward and present a constant challenge to the reader. But if the reader does not close the book in despair the rewards are great indeed.  The mood of the storytelling alone is worth the price of admission here. The long flowing sentences are marvels and testaments to Faulkner’s skill as a writer. The narrative drive makes reading the book almost like reading Greek tragedy. We gets views of Sutpens life from several townspeople and also across generations. This is the first book that I’ve read in a long time that made me feel like I had accomplished something when I finished it. You don’t so much read this novel as you become lost in it. Jump in get your feet wet and prepare for some of the most intense Southern gothic that you are ever likely to read. Amazon Reader /


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The Warmth of Other Suns

The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration

By Isabel Wilkerson

Ida Mae Brandon Gladney, a sharecropper’s wife, left Mississippi for Milwaukee in 1937, after her cousin was falsely accused of stealing a white man’s turkeys and was almost beaten to death. In 1945, George Swanson Starling, a citrus picker, fled Florida for Harlem after learning of the grove owners’ plans to give him a “necktie party” (a lynching). Robert Joseph Pershing Foster made his trek from Louisiana to California in 1953, embittered by “the absurdity that he was doing surgery for the United States Army and couldn’t operate in his own home town.” Anchored to these three stories is Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Wilkerson’s magnificent, extensively researched study of the “great migration,” the exodus of six million black Southerners out of the terror of Jim Crow to an “uncertain existence” in the North and Midwest.

Wilkerson deftly incorporates sociological and historical studies into the novelistic narratives of Gladney, Starling, and Pershing settling in new lands, building anew, and often finding that they have not left racism behind. The drama, poignancy, and romance of a classic immigrant saga pervade this book, hold the reader in its grasp, and resonate long after the reading is done.

*   *   *   *   *


Becoming American Under Fire

Irish Americans, African Americans, and the Politics of Citizenship

During the Civil War Era

By Christian G. Samito

In Becoming American under Fire, Christian G. Samito provides a rich account of how African American and Irish American soldiers influenced the modern vision of national citizenship that developed during the Civil War era. By bearing arms for the Union, African Americans and Irish Americans exhibited their loyalty to the United States and their capacity to act as citizens; they strengthened their American identity in the process. . . . For African American soldiers, proving manhood in combat was only one aspect to their quest for acceptance as citizens. As Samito reveals, by participating in courts-martial and protesting against unequal treatment, African Americans gained access to legal and political processes from which they had previously been excluded. The experience of African Americans in the military helped shape a postwar political movement that successfully called for rights and protections regardless of race.   For Love of Liberty

*   *   *   *   *

Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid

By  Frank B. Wilderson III

Wilderson, a professor, writer and filmmaker from the Midwest, presents a gripping account of his role in the downfall of South African apartheid as one of only two black Americans in the African National Congress (ANC). After marrying a South African law student, Wilderson reluctantly returns with her to South Africa in the early 1990s, where he teaches Johannesburg and Soweto students, and soon joins the military wing of the ANC. Wilderson’s stinging portrait of Nelson Mandela as a petulant elder eager to accommodate his white countrymen will jolt readers who’ve accepted the reverential treatment usually accorded him. After the assassination of Mandela’s rival, South African Communist Party leader Chris Hani, Mandela’s regime deems Wilderson’s public questions a threat to national security; soon, having lost his stomach for the cause, he returns to America. W—Publishers Weekly

*   *   *   *   *

Allah, Liberty, and Love

The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom

By Irshad Manji

In Allah, Liberty and Love, Irshad Manji paves a path for Muslims and non-Muslims to transcend the fears that stop so many of us from living with honest-to-God integrity: the fear of offending others in a multicultural world as well as the fear of questioning our own communities. Since publishing her international bestseller, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji has moved from anger to aspiration. She shows how any of us can reconcile faith with freedom and thus discover the Allah of liberty and love—the universal God that loves us enough to give us choices and the capacity to make them. Among the most visible Muslim reformers of our era, Manji draws on her experience in the trenches to share stories that are deeply poignant, frequently funny and always revealing about these morally confused times.

What prevents young Muslims, even in the West, from expressing their need for religious reinterpretation? What scares non-Muslims about openly supporting liberal voices within Islam? How did we get into the mess of tolerating intolerable customs, such as honor killings, and how do we change that noxious status quo?

*   *   *   *   *

The New New Deal

The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era

By Michael Grunwald

Time senior correspondent Michael Grunwald tells the secret history of the stimulus bill, the purest distillation of Change We Can Believe In, a microcosm of Obama’s policy successes and political failures. Though it is reviled by the right and rejected by the left, it really is a new New Deal, larger than FDR’s and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obama’s long-term agenda. The stimulus is pouring $90 billion into clean energy, reinventing the way America is powered and fueled; it includes unprecedented investments in renewables, efficiency, electric cars, a smarter grid, cleaner coal, and more. It’s carrying health care into the digital era. Its Race to the Top initiative may be the boldest education reform in U.S. history. It produced the biggest middle-class tax cuts in a generation, a broadband initiative reminiscent of rural electrification, and an overhaul of the New Deal’s unemployment insurance system. It’s revamping the way government addresses homelessness, fixes infrastructure, and spends money.

Grunwald reveals how Republicans have obscured these achievements through obstruction and distortion. The stimulus launched a genuine national comeback. It also saved millions of jobs, while creating legacies that could rival the Hoover Dam: the world’s largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the world’s highest-speed Internet network.  Its main legacy, like the New Deal’s, will be change.

*   *   *   *   *

What Orwell Didn’t Know

Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics

By Andras Szanto

Propaganda. Manipulation. Spin. Control. It has ever been thus—or has it? On the eve of the 60th anniversary of George Orwell’s classic essay on propaganda (

Politics and the English Language

), writers have been invited to explore what Orwell didn’t—or couldn’t—know. Their responses, framed in pithy, focused essays, range far and wide: from the effect of television and computing, to the vast expansion of knowledge about how our brains respond to symbolic messages, to the merger of journalism and entertainment, to lessons learned during and after a half-century of totalitarianism. Together, they paint a portrait of a political culture in which propaganda and mind control are alive and well (albeit in forms and places that would have surprised Orwell). The pieces in this anthology sound alarm bells about the manipulation and misinformation in today’s politics, and offer guideposts for a journalism attuned to Orwellian tendencies in the 21st century.

*   *   *   *   *

Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls

By Dorothy Sterling

Dorothy Sterling’s biography of Robert Smalls is Captain of the Planter: The Story of Robert Smalls (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Co., Inc., 1958). In most history books, the contributions of Negroes during the Civil War and Reconstructions are ignored. Robert Smalls was one of the heroes who is rarely mentioned. He was a Negro slave who stole a ship from the Confederates, served on it with the Union Army with distinction, and finally served several terms in Congress.

All this was accomplished against the handicaps first of slavery, then of the prejudice of the Union Army, and finally of the Jim Crow laws, which eventually conquered him. Besides its value in contradicting the history book insinuation that the Negro was incapable of political enterprise and that the South was right in imposing Jim Crow laws, Captain of the Planter is an exciting adventure story. Captain Smalls’ escape from slavery and his battle exploits make interesting reading, and the style is fast moving.—Barbara Dodds

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So Rich, So Poor: Why It’s So Hard to End Poverty in America

By Peter Edelman

If the nation’s gross national income—over $14 trillion—were divided evenly across the entire U.S. population, every household could call itself middle class. Yet the income-level disparity in this country is now wider than at any point since the Great Depression. In 2010 the average salary for CEOs on the S&P 500 was over $1 million—climbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted for—while the current median household income for African Americans is just over $32,000. How can some be so rich, while others are so poor? In this provocative book, Peter Edelman, a former top aide to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and a lifelong antipoverty advocate, offers an informed analysis of how this country can be so wealthy yet have a steadily growing number of unemployed and working poor. According to Edelman, we have taken important positive steps without which 25 to 30 million more people would be poor, but poverty fluctuates with the business cycle.

The structure of today’s economy has stultified wage growth for half of America’s workers—with even worse results at the bottom and for people of color—while bestowing billions on those at the top. So Rich, So Poor delves into what is happening to the people behind the statistics and takes a particular look at the continuing crisis of young people of color, whose possibility of a productive life too often is lost on their way to adulthood


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I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters 

Edited by Michael G. Long

Bayard Rustin has been called the “lost prophet” of the Civil Rights Movement, a master strategist and organizer of the 1963 March on Washington and a deeply influential figure in the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Despite these achievements, Rustin often remained in the background, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. Published on the centennial of his birth, and in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington, I Must Resist: Bayard Rustin’s Life in Letters  are his words shining through a collection of more than 150 of Rustin’s letters. His correspondents include major figures of his day — for example, Eleanor Holmes Norton, A. Philip Randolph, Roy Wilkins, Ella Baker and of course, Martin Luther King Jr. “I have file boxes full of Rustin’s letters that I tracked down in archives across the country,” said book editor Michael G. Long.

“The time it took to complete the research was much longer than I had predicted, not just because of the number of letters I had in hand, but also especially because for their high quality. It was incredibly difficult to weed out those letters I really liked but that did not serve the purpose of putting together a publishable narrative of letters. And there are quite a few of those that are topically fascinating but not easily fitting for a narrative.”—phillytrib

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The Great Divergence

America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It

By Timothy Noah

For the past three decades, America has steadily become a nation of haves and have-nots. Our incomes are increasingly drastically unequal: the top 1% of Americans collect almost 20% of the nation’s income—more than double their share in 1973. We have less equality of income than Venezuela, Kenya, or Yemen. What economics Nobelist Paul Krugman terms “the Great Divergence” has until now been treated as little more than a talking point, a club to be wielded in ideological battles. But it may be the most important change in this country during our lifetimes—a sharp, fundamental shift in the character of American society, and not at all for the better. The income gap has been blamed on everything from computers to immigration, but its causes and consequences call for a patient, non-partisan exploration.

*   *   *   *   *

The Fiery Trial

Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

By Eric Foner

A mixture of visionary progressivism and repugnant racism, Abraham Lincoln’s attitude toward slavery is the most troubling aspect of his public life, one that gets a probing assessment in this study. Columbia historian and Bancroft Prize winner Foner (Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men) traces the complexities of Lincoln’s evolving ideas about slavery and African-Americans: while he detested slavery, he also publicly rejected political and social equality for blacks, dragged his feet (critics charged) on emancipating slaves and accepting black recruits into the Union army, and floated schemes for colonizing freedmen overseas almost to war’s end. Foner situates this record within a lucid, nuanced discussion of the era’s turbulent racial politics; in his account Lincoln is a canny operator, cautiously navigating the racist attitudes of Northern whites, prodded—and sometimes willing to be prodded


by abolitionists and racial egalitarians pressing faster reforms.

But as Foner tells it, Lincoln also embodies a society-wide transformation in consciousness, as the war’s upheavals and the dynamic new roles played by African-Americans made previously unthinkable claims of freedom and equality seem inevitable. Lincoln is no paragon in Foner’s searching portrait, but something more essential–a politician with an open mind and a restless conscience. 16 pages of illus., 3 maps.—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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Negro Digest / Black World

Browse all issues

1950        1960        1965        1970        1975        1980        1985        1990        1995        2000 ____ 2005        


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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 2 July 2012





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