ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
In the course of over six years of intense scrutiny of candidate and President Obama,
we at Black Agenda Report have learned to read him like a (comic) book.
Last November 3, when Republicans won control of the House . . .
Gridlock is a Blessing
To Hell with Obama and His Van Joneses
By Glen Ford
Saved, once again, by gridlock! In the absence of any serious social democratic presence in the U.S. Congress a Progressive Caucus that went poof! years ago, a Black Caucus rendered ridiculous by Obamaismglorious gridlock was the only force that could derail the SuperCommittee, just as gridlock saved us from Obamas $4 trillion Grand Bargain with House Speaker John Boehner, this past summer.
Gridlock is not a dependable ally. Its what the condemned hope happens to traffic on their way to the execution site. But, with Occupy Wall Street only a very recent phenomenon, gridlock was all that stood in the way of Barack Obama finally consummating his long sought marriage with the GOP over the past year. Had the Republicans not repeatedly spurned The First Black Presidents offers of matrimonyfor their own narrow reasons the disgusting union would have long ago been accomplished.
The Obama train, which was always headed in the same fatal direction as the GOP juggernaut, has been stopped in its tracks, despite the presidents vow to keep his hand on the throttle with a veto of any rollback of $1.2 trillion in automatic federal spending cuts. Having rejected a partnership with Obama, the Republicans will have great difficulty finishing off the last remnants of the New Deal and the Great Society in the coming election year. Instead, they will be consumed with keeping the military budget off the chopping block.
In the course of over six years of intense scrutiny of candidate and President Obama, we at Black Agenda Report have learned to read him like a (comic) book. Last November 3, when Republicans won control of the House, we wrote:
We can only hope that the Republicans are so consumed with destroy-Obama fervor that they reject his entreaties to bipartisan collaboration, and rush to gridlock . The best outcome that could result from Tuesdays Democratic debacle is that the Republicans overreach and, in their white nationalist triumphalism, make it impossible for President Obama and congressional Democrats to reach an accommodation with rampaging reaction and racism.
The Republicans were stupid enough to grant our wish, twice spurning Obamas shameless collaboration in catastrophic spending cuts, and finally leaving the matter to the doomed SuperCommittee.
BAR had Obamas number on December 15 of last year, when he defected to the GOP on the Bush tax cuts with not even a pretense of a fight. Obama, we wrote, had entered his comfort zone now that House Democrats were about to become the minority. He saw the defeat of his own party as putting him one step closer to a Grand Bargain with the Republicans.
In the 12 months since the Democrats mid-term debacle, Obama has bared his naked corporatist butt for all to see. We predicted as much: Obama is now in his element, where he can maneuver among fellow rightist Democrats and Republican Neanderthals, seeking the bipartisan nirvana he has craved his entire cynical, opportunistic career.
But within months, gridlock would thwart his plans. Hallelujah!
However, gridlock merely delays the trip to the guillotine. Only a mass movement can defeat massed capital, the master of both political parties. The Occupy Wall Street phenomenon, which only emerged in September and is not yet fully formed, is at constant risk of entanglement with the phony movement conjured up almost four years earlier in the delusional minds of so-called Progressives for Obama and their ilka shake-and-bake concoction whose only mission was election of a flim-flam artist as president.
The delusionists are at it, again, gearing up to award their brown-skinned Ronald Reagan acolyte another four years to rut with Republicans. At the point-position of this well-heeled cooptation brigade is Van Jones, the Obama staffer who was fired as White House Green Jobs Czar on the ridiculous charge of being a closeted radical. Occupy DC activist Kevin Zeese has issued a Memo to Democratic Operatives like Jones to back off the Occupy movement:
The former Obama administration official, who received a golden parachute at Princeton and the Democratic think tank Center for American Progress when he left the administration, is doing what Democrats always dosee the energy of an independent movement, race to the front, then lead it down a dead end and essentially destroy it. Jones is doing the dirty work of a Democratic operative and while he and other Dem front groups pretend to support Occupiers, their real mission is to co-opt it .
The Occupy Movement, writes Zeese, is not part of either corporate-dominated party and Van Jones is not our leader. It is corporate rule we oppose. The Obama administration and the Democrats as well as the Republicans maintain the rule of Wall Street. Occupiers have organized an independent movement that challenges the rule of the 1% and their Republican and Democratic lackeys. Bought and paid for with millions of dollars from Wall Street, the health insurance industry and big energy interests, Obama and the Democrats are part of the problem, not the solution.
The problem menacing all humankind is the rule of finance capital, backed by the imperial armament of the United States and its allies, who together account for 70 percent of all the military spending on Earth. The Sword of Damocles that hovers over the planet, is Wall Streets $600 trillion-plus derivatives, financial nuclear bombs invented to satisfy the capitalist systems demand for ever-increasing rates of return on investment.
In May of 2008far too late to avert the impending catastrophea virtual Whos Who of European social democratic leaders, including former heads of state and ministers of treasury, posted an Open Letter in the French newspaper Le Monde, proclaiming that Mad Finance Must Not Rule Us. They were speaking of the $750 trillion in derivatives at large at the time:
Financial capital currently represents 15 times the gross domestic product (GDP) of all countries The world of finance has accumulated a gigantic mass of fictitious capital that does very little to improve the human condition and the preservation of the environment.
The nominally socialist politicians warned that, when everything is for sale, social cohesion disintegrates and the system collapses. They urged immediate action to control financial markets, which are incapable of self-regulation.
But of course, nothing of the kind occurred. The Meltdown followed a few months later, and today finance capital is eating Europe and the United States alive. Europes faux socialists made themselves irrelevantand are now paying at the pollsthrough their own decades of collaboration with the rise of all-powerful Wall Street structures. The cold, hard fact is that finance capital, which has seized hegemonic control of all economic, political, communications and social mechanisms in the leading capitalist countries, is incapable of regulation. It must be overthrown, or it will destroy us all.
The current gridlock in the United States should be viewed as a temporary and fortunate respite, a chance to build the social movement that can save the people from the worst effects of the systems inevitable collapse. Humanity has no time for diversionssuch as Democrats.
Glen Ford, BAR executive editor, can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.
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Goldman Sachs is a global bank that specializes in mergers and acquisitions, asset management and prime brokerage. It provides financial advice to corporations and governments around the world. Its executives can be found in all key levels of governmentMark Carney, head of the Bank of Canada, Stephen Friedman, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Mario Draghi, President of the European Central Bank and Henry Paulson, former Treasury Secretary (USA) and Otmar Issing, a one-time board member of the Bundesbank and ex-chief economist of the European Central Bank.
Goldman Sachs are the world’s foremost experts on taking over large institutions and running them. Their peoplecurrent and former Goldman Sachs executives have been quietly advising world leaders on economic policy for years. No one is in a better position to take over and manage the world, for their own profit. It was only a matter of time before they put their expertise into use.
Goldman Sachs‘s plan is simple: run the economy into the ground and step in to save the day. Look at the results so far. In two European countries, elected leaders have been removed and replaced with executives with sweeping powers. What’s not apparent from news reports is that the new leaders of Italy and Greece are closely connected with Goldman Sachs.
Mario Monti was an international adviser to Goldman Sachs from 2005 until his nomination to lead the Italian government. He also worked closely with Goldman Sachs to reduce the apparent size of Italian government debt. Op-Ed: The Goldman Sachs project New world government?
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Why Do Liberals Keep Sanitizing the Obama Story?
Excerpts by Conor FriedersdorfNov 22 2011
When I pleaded with liberals to stop ignoring President Obama’s failures on civil liberties, foreign policy, and the separation of powers, treating them as if they didn’t even merit a mention, the quintessential example of the troubling phenomenon hadn’t yet been published. Now it has. In New York, one of America’s premier magazines, Jonathan Chait, a sharp, experienced political writer, has penned a 5,000 word essay purporting to defend the president’s first term. It is aimed at liberal critics who, in Chait’s telling, naively expected too much. . . .
Telling the story of Obama’s first term without including any of it is a shocking failure of liberalism. It’s akin to conservatism’s unforgivable myopia and apologia during the Bush Administration. Are liberals really more discontented with Obama’s failure to reverse the Bush tax cuts than the citizen death warrants he is signing? Is his ham-handed handling of the debt-ceiling really more worthy of mention than the illegal war he waged? Is his willingness to sign deficit reduction that cuts entitlement spending more objectionable than the fact that he outsourced drone strikes to a CIA that often didn’t even know the names of the people it was killing? These are the priorities of a perverted liberalism. Chait’s essay suggests an ideological movement that finds the ACLU and Center for Constitutional Rights indispensable, but only when a Republican is in the White House. One that objects to radically expanded executive power, except when the president seems progressive. I want to be reassured that liberalism is better than that.
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The gap between Black and white households ballooned during the 23-year study period, as white families went from a median of about $22,000 in wealth to $100,000 a gain of $95,000. In the same period, Black household wealth inched up from a base of $2,000 per family to only $5,000. The sweat and toil of an entire generation had netted Black families only $3,000 additional dollars, while white families amassed 100 grand that can be used to send a couple of kids to college, make investments, help out other family members, or contribute to the larger (white) community. The typical Black family has no such options.
Viewed another way, the median white family was 11 times richer than the median Black family in 1984 ($2,000 vs. $22,000). By 2007, the white household had become 20 times richer than its Black counterpart ($5,000 vs. $100,000). Any way one measures it, the numbers show African Americans are tumbling out of the nations economic orbit, wealth-wise, on a trajectory that can never achieve parity with whites. I repeat: never.
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Norquist Tells GOP That Raising Taxes on The Middle Class Doesnt Count as a Tax IncreaseBy Travis Waldron1 December 2011Anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist, the president of Americans For Tax Reform and author of the radical anti-tax pledge that has played a significant role in hamstringing budget and deficit-reduction negotiations, has said that it is unacceptable for those who have signed his pledge to vote in favor of any tax increase. But now that President Obama and congressional Democrats are backing a tax cut aimed at stimulating economic growth, Norquist has changed his tune. . . .
Republicans who have defended those tax breaks for the wealthy arent so sure about holding the Norquist position, though. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) warned his rank and file this morning about opposing the extension, telling them that taxes are a Republican issue and you arent a Republican if you want to raise taxes on struggling families to fund bigger government. Multiple Republican senators, meanwhile, have come out in favor of the extension, and Sen. Sue Collins (R-ME) even proposed raising taxes on some wealthy Americans to pay for it.
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News BriefKilling the EuroBy Paul Krugman1 December 2011I hope, for our sake as well as theirs, that the Europeans will change course before its too late. But, to be honest, I dont believe they will. In fact, whats much more likely is that we will follow them down the path to ruin. For in America, as in Europe, the economy is being dragged down by troubled debtors in our case, mainly homeowners. And here, too, we desperately need expansionary fiscal and monetary policies to support the economy as these debtors struggle back to financial health. Yet, as in Europe, public discourse is dominated by deficit scolds and inflation obsessives.
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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 John D’Emilio
Bayard Rustin is one of the most important figures in the history of the American civil rights movement. Before Martin Luther King, before Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin was working to bring the cause to the forefront of America’s consciousness. A teacher to King, an international apostle of peace, and the organizer of the famous 1963 March on Washington, he brought Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolence to America and helped launch the civil rights movement. Nonetheless, Rustin has been largely erased by history, in part because he was an African American homosexual. Acclaimed historian John D’Emilio tells the full and remarkable story of Rustin’s intertwined lives: his pioneering and public person and his oblique and stigmatized private self.
It was in the tumultuous 1930s that Bayard Rustin came of age, getting his first lessons in politics through the Communist Party and the unrest of the Great Depression.
A Quaker and a radical pacifist, he went to prison for refusing to serve in World War II, only to suffer a sexual scandal. His mentor, the great pacifist A. J. Muste, wrote to him, “You were capable of making the ‘mistake’ of thinking that you could be the leader in a revolution…at the same time that you were a weakling in an extreme degree and engaged in practices for which there was no justification.”
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By H. W. Brands
In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar’s astonishing rise to become the world’s principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar’s changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America’s economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan’s bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt’s handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar’s dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today.
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This book explodes several myths: that selling sex is completely different from any other kind of work, that migrants who sell sex are passive victims and that the multitude of people out to save them are without self-interest. Laura Agustín makes a passionate case against these stereotypes, arguing that the label ‘trafficked’ does not accurately describe migrants’ lives and that the ‘rescue industry’ serves to disempower them. Based on extensive research amongst both migrants who sell sex and social helpers, Sex at the Margins provides a radically different analysis. Frequently, says Agustin, migrants make rational choices to travel and work in the sex industry, and although they are treated like a marginalised group they form part of the dynamic global economy. Both powerful and controversial, this book is essential reading for all those who want to understand the increasingly important relationship between sex markets, migration and the desire for social justice.
“Sex at the Margins rips apart distinctions between migrants, service work and sexual labour and reveals the utter complexity of the contemporary sex industry. This book is set to be a trailblazer in the study of sexuality.”Lisa Adkins, University of London
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By Peter Edelman
If the nations gross national incomeover $14 trillionwere 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 millionclimbing to over $11 million when all forms of compensation are accounted forwhile 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 todays economy has stultified wage growth for half of Americas workerswith even worse results at the bottom and for people of colorwhile 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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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 24 November 2011