ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
And when youre President, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then
your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody
in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to think about those workers
who got laid off and how are we paying for their retraining.
Cory Booker Nauseated and Private Equity Romney
Barack Obama Responds
Well, first of all, I think Cory Booker is an outstanding mayor. He is doing great work in Newark and obviously helping to turn that city around. And I think its important to recognize that this issue is not a distraction. This is part of the debate that were going to be having in this election campaign about how do we create an economy where everybody from top to bottom, folks on Wall Street and folks on Main Street, have a shot at success and if theyre working hard and theyre acting responsibly, that theyre able to live out the American Dream.
Now, I think my view of private equity is that it is set up to maximize profits. And thats a healthy part of the free market. Thats part of the role of a lot of business people. Thats not unique to private equity. And as I think my representatives have said repeatedly, and I will say today, I think there are folks who do good work in that area. And there are times where they identify the capacity for the economy to create new jobs or new industries, but understand that their priority is to maximize profits. And thats not always going to be good for communities or businesses or workers.
And the reason this is relevant to the campaign is because my opponent, Governor Romney, his main calling card for why he thinks he should be President is his business expertise. He is not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts. He is saying, Im a business guy and I know how to fix it, and this is his business.
And when youre President, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, then your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to think about those workers who got laid off and how are we paying for their retraining. Your job is to think about how those communities can start creating new clusters so that they can attract new businesses. Your job as President is to think about how do we set up an equitable tax system so that everybody is paying their fair share that allows us then to invest in science and technology and infrastructure, all of which are going to help us grow.
And so, if your main argument for how to grow the economy is I knew how to make a lot of money for investors, then youre missing what this job is about. It doesnt mean you werent good at private equity, but thats not what my job is as President. My job is to take into account everybody, not just some. My job is to make sure that the country is growing not just now, but 10 years from now and 20 years from now.
So to repeat, this is not a distraction. This is what this campaign is going to be aboutis what is a strategy for us to move this country forward in a way where everybody can succeed? And that means Ive got to think about those workers in that video just as much as Im thinking about folks who have been much more successful. . . . What I would say is that Mr. Romney is responsible for the proposals he is putting forward for how he says he is going to fix the economy. And if the main basis for him suggesting he can do a better job is his track record as the head of a private equity firm, then both the upsides and the downsides are worth examining.
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Cory Booker, surrogate from hellSteve Kornacki20 May 2012Financial support from Wall Street and, more broadly speaking, the investor class has been key to Bookers rise, and remains key to his future dreams.
Its easy to forget, but before the world met Barack Obama in 2004, many believed that the first black president would be Booker. Armed with Stanford, Yale and Oxford degrees and all of the invaluable personal connections he forged at those institutions, he set out in the mid-1990s to craft a uniquely appealing political biography, swearing off lucrative job offers to move to Newarks Central Ward and take up residence in public housing. Within a few years, he won a seat on the City Council, where he showed an early and consistent knack for self-generated publicity, most notably with a ten-day hunger strike in the summer of 1999.
That set the stage for Bookers 2002 race for mayor, an ugly contest against incumbent Sharpe James, an entrenched icon of the citys civil rights generation of black politicians. James, as any self-respecting Newark mayor would do, leveraged his clout for campaign contributions from city workers, vendors and those who aspired to be city workers and vendors.
Booker, meanwhile, had hardly lost touch with his old classmates, keeping one foot in Newark and the other in Manhattan, where he built on the connections to elite donors that he already had. He called the millions of dollars he raised for the race love money. The pressand James campaigntook note that almost all of it was from outside Newark, nearly half of it was from outside New Jersey, and a quarter of it came directly from Wall Street.
This helped bolster James claim that Booker, who grew up in an affluent suburb, was not an authentic Newarker. That attack resonated just enough to save James, who won in a squeaker. It was a pyrrhic victory, though: Booker had captured national interestthere was a Time profile during the campaign, and an Academy Award-nominated documentary followedand immediately started campaigning for the next race, while a federal investigation soon swallowed up James. In 2006, Booker was elected with ease, while James was on his way to jail.
Since then, the only question in New Jersey has been whenand not ifBooker will seek to run for statewide office. In 2009, the beleaguered Jon Corzine begged him to run for lieutenant governor on his ticket, an offer that Booker wisely refused. Hes often touted as a potential gubernatorial candidate for 2013, but those who know him say his eye is more on the Senate seat now held by 88-year-old Frank Lautenberg, which will be up in 2014.
This is why its not at all surprising to see Booker going to bat for private equity. The allies hes cultivated on Wall Street and in the financial industry (think, for instance, of his chummy relationship with Michael Bloomberg) have made Booker a prolific fundraiser, and when he ventured into the ultra-expensive statewide game, hell need them more than ever. Many of them have turned fiercely against Obama over the past few years, convinced that hes unfairly targeted them. Bookers words on Meet the Press may have enraged the average Obama supporter, but to the Wall Street class they were probably close to heroic finally, a big-name Democrat with the cojones to call out Obama on his class warfare!
The Booker calculation, in other words, is probably that the average Democratic voters memory of his outburst will fade long before 2014but that the average Wall Street donors wont.salon
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Bain and Financial Industry Gave Over $565,000 To Newark Mayor Cory Booker For 2002 CampaignJosh Israel21 May 2012A ThinkProgress examination of New Jersey campaign finance records for Bookers first run for Mayorback in 2002suggests a possible reason for his unease with attacks on Bain Capital and venture capital. They were among his earliest and most generous backers. Contributions to his 2002 campaign from venture capitalists, investors, and big Wall Street bankers brought him more than $115,000 for his 2002 campaign. Among those contributing to his campaign were John Connaughton ($2,000), Steve Pagliuca ($2,200), Jonathan Lavine ($1,000)all of Bain Capital. While the forms are not totally clear, it appears the campaign raised less than $800,000 total, making this a significant percentage. He and his slate also jointly raised funds for the Booker Team for Newark joint committee. They received more than $450,000 for the 2002 campaign from the sectorincluding a pair of $15,400 contributions from Bain Capital Managing Directors Joshua Bekenstein and Mark Nunnelly. It appears that for the initial campaign and runoff, the slate raised less than $4 millionagain making this a sizable chunk. In alljust in his first Mayoral runBookers committees received more than $565,000 from the people he was defending. At least $36,000 of that came from folks at Romneys old firm.
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We haven’t heard the end of Bainand we won’t until the end of the campaigndespite the inexplicable comments of Newark’s “Democratic” Mayor Cory Booker, who must be spending too much time cozying up to Republican Gov. (and potential running mate) Chris Christie. On Meet the Press, Booker equated the race-baiting, anti-Obama ads about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright that were recently proposed to billionaire clown Joe Ricketts with Obama’s Bain attack: “It’s nauseating.”
Well, Ricketts and his now-renounced smear job certainly was nauseating. But with Romney, what’s nauseating is what happened at his hands to ordinary hardworking Americans thrown out of work so he could rake in the bucks. And what’s worrying is Romney’s austerity agenda that would drive the U.S. into a double-dip recession, which is what such policies have already done to Great Britain.
Within hours, Booker retracted his comments and conceded the point: It is Romney who has made his business experience the centerpiece of his campaign. Bain is the spine that holds the whole Book of Romney together. As one of the workers in that Obama commercial put it, “If he’s going to run the country like the way he ran our business, I wouldn’t want him there. He would be so out of touch How could [he] care?” theweek
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Don’t Be Fooled. Cory Booker, Barack Obama & the Whole Black Political Class Love Bain CapitalBruce A. Dixon22 May 2012Barack Obama, Cory Booker and the entire black political class have a problem. They must deliver the votes of their people to the campaign contributors who make their careers possible. Their voters oppose unjust wars, privatizations of public assets and services, and corporate bailouts. Once safely in office, these are exactly the measures Obama, Booker and their colleagues enact. But right now Barack Obama and other Democrats need to be re-elected, and to be re-elected they must pose at least as half-hearted opponents of the bloodsucking model of parasitic venture capital practiced by Bain Capital, J.P. Morgan and other players.
It’s not an easy act to sell, and sometimes Obama and his surrogates are caught in their own tangled webs. Romney’s Bain Capital, like other vampire capital firms like it don’t just have relations with Democrats as well as Republicans. They have deep institutional and personal ties with leading members of the nation’s black political class.
Bain’s business models, along with reams of their business advice in the forms of pro bono transition and turnaround reports recommending the mass firings of public workers, especially teachers, and the wholesale privatization of local water, government payrolls, parking meters, garbage pickup, parks and recreation departments, and everything that can or cannot be nailed down have been common staples on the desks of incoming black mayors in Newark, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Columbia SC, Atlanta and other cities.
When former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin swept into office in 2005 her pro-bono transition report was the Bain Report put together by Mitt Romney’s colleagues intent on turning government services into lucrative business opportunities and pocketing the money saved by firing workers, reducing their benefits and eliminating their pensions while jacking user fees for the public to the maximum sustainable levels. Fortunately for Atlanta, the water privatization deal already done by her predecessor unraveled in spectacular fashion just as Franklin was entering office, creating a less favorable atmosphere for other immediate privatizations. Out of office, Franklin is a lobbyist and consultant to firms specializing in the privatization of education and government services of all kinds.
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George Will, Matthew Dowd Blast Romney for Not Releasing Tax Returns15 July 2012ABC 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 theres obviously something there in Romneys returns that he doesnt want public. If somethings 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 didnt get all of this out and tidy up some of his offshore accounts and all the rest. Hes done nothing illegal, nothing unseemly, nothing improper, but lots thats impolitic, Will added.
And hes 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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The Media and BainArmando15 July 2012Despite 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 incompetencehow in blazes does he expect to distance himself from Bainthe 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 beenit 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 pointas 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 Romneys 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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#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 Derrick Bell
In nine grim metaphorical sketches, Bell, the black former Harvard law professor who made headlines recently for his one-man protest against the school’s hiring policies, hammers home his controversial theme that white racism is a permanent, indestructible component of our society. Bell’s fantasies are often dire and apocalyptic: a new Atlantis rises from the ocean depths, sparking a mass emigration of blacks; white resistance to affirmative action softens following an explosion that kills Harvard’s president and all of the school’s black professors; intergalactic space invaders promise the U.S. President that they will clean up the environment and deliver tons of gold, but in exchange, the bartering aliens take all African Americans back to their planet. Other pieces deal with black-white romance, a taxi ride through Harlem and job discrimination. Civil rights lawyer Geneva Crenshaw, the heroine of Bell’s And We Are Not Saved (1987), is back in some of these ominous allegories, which speak from the depths of anger and despair. Publishers Weekly / Derrick Bell Dies at 80
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Propaganda and the New Face of American Politics
By Andras Szanto
Propaganda. Manipulation. Spin. Control. It has ever been thusor has it? On the eve of the 60th anniversary of George Orwell’s classic essay on propaganda (
), writers have been invited to explore what Orwell didn’tor couldn’tknow. 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.
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By Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer
American democracy is informed by the 18th centurys most cutting edge thinking on society, economics, and government. Weve learned some things in the intervening 230 years about self interest, social behaviors, and how the world works. Now, authors Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer argue that some fundamental assumptions about citizenship, society, economics, and government need updating. For many years the dominant metaphor for understanding markets and government has been the machine. Liu and Hanauer view democracy not as a machine, but as a garden. A successful garden functions according to the inexorable tendencies of nature, but it also requires goals, regular tending, and an understanding of connected ecosystems. The latest ideas from science, social science, and economicsthe cutting-edge ideas of todaygenerate these simple but revolutionary ideas: (The economy is not an efficient machine. Its an effective garden that need tending. Freedom is responsibility. Government should be about the big what and the little how. True self interest is mutual interest.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 22 May 2012