ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
Democratic front runners Clinton and Obama, having properly and repeatedly kissed the rings of military contractors,
big insurance, Big Oil, agribusiness and the rest, are basking in a tide of favourable media coverage
Books by Barack Obama
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Books by Hillary Rodham Clinton
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The Handwriting is On the Wall: It’s a Clinton-Obama Ticket in 08
By Bruce Dixon
With a full year to go before the 2008 presidential election the handwriting is already on the wall. The Democratic nominees and probable winners in 2008 will be Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In US presidential politics, elections are often anticlimactic. For Democratic and Republican wings of America’s permanent ruling party, the all-important selection which precedes the election isn’t about poll numbers, votes or the citizens that cast them. It’s about winning the favor of military contractors, the banking and financial sectors and Big Oil. It’s about reassuring insurance and pharmaceutical companies, cozying up to agribusiness, the cable and telecom monopolies, allaying the fears of chambers of commerce, and wooing Hollywood.
Only those who jump through these hoops merit favorable coverage in the corporate media as so-called serious candidates. For example, at a recent Democratic presidential forum, when directly asked whether they, if elected, would have US troops out of Iraq by the end of their first term in 2013, Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Dodd and Biden all admitted their intent to continue the war at least that long.
Thus certified, these serious candidates are deemed worthy of individual and bundled campaign donations from corporate board members, wealthy investors, CEOs, their family members, lobbyists, lawyers, employees, PACs, trade groups and so on. The worthiest are those that collect the most money from these sources, and are in turn celebrated in the corporate media as hardheaded, pragmatic and realistic presidential contenders, and rise in the opinion polls.
Failure on a candidate’s part to stick to the script is severely punished. Any lack of will to reassure the military contractors, Big Oil, Big Insurance, Big Pharma and Big Money in general results in a candidate being labeled unelectable, through boycotts by the big money donors and the imposition of kiss-of-death news blackouts on their campaigns. Four years ago ABC News exec Ted Koppel demanded Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley-Braun withdraw from the race and pulled ABC’s coverage from their campaigns the next day, as did NBC, CNN, and the other networks. This season’s antiwar and pro health care Democrats Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich are routinely disinvited to forums, excised from coverage, omitted from public opinion polls and surveys, and their images deleted from news photos of presidential forums.
When a boycott of big campaign contributors and media censorship alone is insufficient to kill a presidential campaign whose message is threatening to those in power, the media have been known to step in more directly. For a time in 2004, presidential candidate Howard Dean’s antiwar stance enabled him to raise buckets of cash in small donations from millions of Americans opposed to the war and lead the Democratic field in the public opinion polls. Corporate media launched a torrent of baseless ridicule over an arguably doctored scream that cut his popular support by half in the space of two weeks.
By contrast, this year’s Democratic front runners Clinton and Obama, having properly and repeatedly kissed the rings of military contractors, big insurance, Big Oil, agribusiness and the rest, are basking in a tide of favorable media coverage. Journalism.org’s October 29 article “The Invisible Primary” contains a wealth of detail contrasting the relative extent and favorability of media coverage garnered by both Republican and Democratic contenders. It indicates that Barack Obama alone receives as much favorable coverage as the entire Republican field, and that the volume of positive stories about Hillary Clinton is not far behind his, and closing fast.
The race among presidential candidates for corporate campaign contributions, aptly called the wealth primary, shows the same results. Thomas Edsall in the October 17 Huffington Post detailed how the CEOs, lawyers, lobbyists and bundlers who represent military contractors have abandoned their long-held alliance with Republicans, and placed their bets with Hillary Clinton. According to Edsall:
The strong support for Clinton indicates that a majority of defense industry executives currently believe Clinton is a favorite to win the Democratic nomination and, in November, 2008, the general election….
The same picture is visible across a wider swath of America’s moneyed elite at opensecrets.org, a web site devoted to tracking influence of big money in politics.
· Lobbyists of all kinds have donated nearly as much to the Clinton campaign alone as to any two Republicans combined.
· Obama and Clinton, both proponents of supposed universal health care plans lead all Republicans in donations from the pharmaceutical and health care industries.
· Clinton and Obama together lead the pack in donations from the securities and investment industries, their combined total of $9.1 million well ahead of the $7.9 million garnered by the top two Republican contenders.
· Obama leads all contenders in donations from the computer and internet industries, closely followed by Clinton, with either of them leading Republican contenders in donations from this sector by a wide margin.
· Commercial banks too, are bestowing their largess upon Clinton and Obama far more generously than they do on any Republican candidate.
Whether the measure is favorable coverage in the corporate media, or bundles of checks from wealthy donors, the gap between Clinton-Obama and the rest of the Democratic field is breathtaking and decisive. Before a single primary vote has been cast, the handwriting of America’s elite is truly on the wall. Clinton and Obama are the favored choices of our corporate media and ruling circles, and thus will be the Democratic ticket in 2008. And the defection of big chunks of the elite consensus from the Republican camp, the havoc and disarray sown among Republicans by eight years of Bush-Cheney, and widespread popular disgust with the Bush regime make prospects of a 2008 Republican victory remote.
Make no mistake, Hillary Clinton will be at the top of this ticket. The talk in circles close to Senator Obama as far back as 1993 has been of a career trajectory toward the office of vice president. But the way one campaigns for that office nowadays is to run for the top spot, lose and graciously accept the invitation of the winner to serve. That is the scenario we expect to see in the coming months.
Barack Obama is an invaluable asset to a Democratic ticket, much too valuable to wait in line for 2012 or 2016. He enables Democrats to take advantage of the historic black tendency to uncritically close ranks around any prominent member of the club no matter how undeserving, a relic of the Jim Crow era. Though he famously declared that there is no Black America at the last Democratic convention, Obama’s mere presence on the ticket locks up the African American vote, which as usual will feel it has nowhere else to go.
Just as in 2004, antiwar voters will be forced to choose between Republicans who will not apologize for the war, and Democrats who will not end it. Bush and Cheney’s generation-long war on terror as the prism through which to view American foreign and domestic policy is fully accepted by the Democratic contenders. Single payer health care on the French and Canadian model remain off the table. The Bush Supreme Court, and a thoroughly right wing federal judiciary stacked with lifetime appointees remain firmly in place, as do laws immunizing torturers, indemnifying telecoms who spy on Americans, and much more. Millions of homeowners are losing their homes to foreclosure, and the wealthy players who bought those securitized loans will be demanding a bailout from the next administration.
The handwriting is on the wall. It says a new day is indeed coming. But not all that new. Get ready for it.
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Source: Black Agenda Report
posted 7 November 2007
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#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
#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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By Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons knows firsthand that wealth is rooted in much more than the stock market. True wealth has more to do with what’s in your heart than what’s in your wallet. Using this knowledge, Simmons became one of America’s shrewdest entrepreneurs, achieving a level of success that most investors only dream about. No matter how much material gain he accumulated, he never stopped lending a hand to those less fortunate. In Super Rich, Simmons uses his rare blend of spiritual savvy and street-smart wisdom to offer a new definition of wealth-and share timeless principles for developing an unshakable sense of self that can weather any financial storm. As Simmons says, “Happy can make you money, but money can’t make you happy.”
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By Michele Alexander
Contrary to the rosy picture of race embodied in Barack Obama’s political success and Oprah Winfrey’s financial success, legal scholar Alexander argues vigorously and persuasively that [w]e have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it. Jim Crow and legal racial segregation has been replaced by mass incarceration as a system of social control (More African Americans are under correctional control today… than were enslaved in 1850). Alexander reviews American racial history from the colonies to the Clinton administration, delineating its transformation into the war on drugs. She offers an acute analysis of the effect of this mass incarceration upon former inmates who will be discriminated against, legally, for the rest of their lives, denied employment, housing, education, and public benefits. Most provocatively, she reveals how both the move toward colorblindness and affirmative action may blur our vision of injustice: most Americans know and don’t know the truth about mass incarcerationbut her carefully researched, deeply engaging, and thoroughly readable book should change that.Publishers Weekly
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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update February 2012