ChickenBones: A Journal
for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes
You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few
years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require
common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation
that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.
I Am the President
2012 DNC Speech by Barack Obama
Madam Chairwoman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States.
The first time I addressed this convention in 2004, I was a younger man; a Senate candidate from Illinois who spoke about hopenot blind optimism or wishful thinking, but hope in the face of difficulty; hope in the face of uncertainty; that dogged faith in the future which has pushed this nation forward, even when the odds are great; even when the road is long.
Eight years later, that hope has been testedby the cost of war; by one of the worst economic crises in history; and by political gridlock that’s left us wondering whether it’s still possible to tackle the challenges of our time.
I know that campaigns can seem small, and even silly. Trivial things become big distractions. Serious issues become sound bites. And the truth gets buried under an avalanche of money and advertising. If you’re sick of hearing me approve this message, believe meso am I.
But when all is said and done – when you pick up that ballot to voteyou will face the clearest choice of any time in a generation. Over the next few years, big decisions will be made in Washington, on jobs and the economy; taxes and deficits; energy and education; war and peacedecisions that will have a huge impact on our lives and our children’s lives for decades to come.
On every issue, the choice you face won’t be just between two candidates or two parties. It will be a choice between two different paths for America.A choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future. Ours is a fight to restore the values that built the largest middle class and the strongest economy the world has ever known; the values my grandfather defended as a soldier in Patton’s Army; the values that drove my grandmother to work on a bomber assembly line while he was gone.
They knew they were part of something largera nation that triumphed over fascism and depression; a nation where the most innovative businesses turned out the world’s best products, and everyone shared in the pride and success – from the corner office to the factory floor.
My grandparents were given the chance to go to college, buy their first home, and fulfill the basic bargain at the heart of America’s story: the promise that hard work will pay off; that responsibility will be rewarded; that everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rulesfrom Main Street to Wall Street to Washington, DC.
I ran for President because I saw that basic bargain slipping away. I began my career helping people in the shadow of a shuttered steel mill, at a time when too many good jobs were starting to move overseas. And by 2008, we had seen nearly a decade in which families struggled with costs that kept rising but paychecks that didn’t; racking up more and more debt just to make the mortgage or pay tuition; to put gas in the car or food on the table. And when the house of cards collapsed in the Great Recession, millions of innocent Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and their life savingsa tragedy from which we are still fighting to recover.
Now, our friends at the Republican convention were more than happy to talk about everything they think is wrong with America, but they didn’t have much to say about how they’d make it right. They want your vote, but they don’t want you to know their plan. And that’s because all they have to offer is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years:
“Have a surplus? Try a tax cut.”
“Deficit too high? Try another.”
“Feel a cold coming on? Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning!”
Now, I’ve cut taxes for those who need itmiddle-class families and small businesses. But I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores, or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy, or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand, or the laid-off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we’ve tried that, and we’re not going back. We’re moving forward.
I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth. And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.
And by the waythose of us who carry on his party’s legacy should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington.
But know this, America: Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And I’m asking you to choose that future. I’m asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country – goals in manufacturing, energy, education, national security, and the deficit; a real, achievable plan that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity, and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation.
That’s what we can do in the next four years, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States. We can choose a future where we export more products and outsource fewer jobs. After a decade that was defined by what we bought and borrowed, we’re getting back to basics, and doing what America has always done best: We’re making things again.
I’ve met workers in Detroit and Toledo who feared they’d never build another American car. Today, they can’t build them fast enough, because we reinvented a dying auto industry that’s back on top of the world. I’ve worked with business leaders who are bringing jobs back to Americanot because our workers make less pay, but because we make better products. Because we work harder and smarter than anyone else. I’ve signed trade agreements that are helping our companies sell more goods to millions of new customersgoods that are stamped with three proud words: Made in America.
After a decade of decline, this country created over half a million manufacturing jobs in the last two and a half years. And now you have a choice: we can give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here, in the United States of America. We can help big factories and small businesses double their exports, and if we choose this path, we can create a million new manufacturing jobs in the next four years. You can make that happen. You can choose that future.
You can choose the path where we control more of our own energy. After thirty years of inaction, we raised fuel standards so that by the middle of the next decade, cars and trucks will go twice as far on a gallon of gas.
We’ve doubled our use of renewable energy, and thousands of Americans have jobs today building wind turbines and long-lasting batteries. In the last year alone, we cut oil imports by one million barrels a daymore than any administration in recent history. And today, the United States of America is less dependent on foreign oil than at any time in nearly two decades.
Now you have a choicebetween a strategy that reverses this progress, or one that builds on it. We’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration in the last three years, and we’ll open more. But unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan, or endanger our coastlines, or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.
We’re offering a better patha future where we keep investing in wind and solar and clean coal; where farmers and scientists harness new biofuels to power our cars and trucks; where construction workers build homes and factories that waste less energy; where we develop a hundred year supply of natural gas that’s right beneath our feet. If you choose this path, we can cut our oil imports in half by 2020 and support more than 600,000 new jobs in natural gas alone.
And yes, my plan will continue to reduce the carbon pollution that is heating our planetbecause climate change is not a hoax. More droughts and floods and wildfires are not a joke. They’re a threat to our children’s future. And in this election, you can do something about it. You can choose a future where more Americans have the chance to gain the skills they need to compete, no matter how old they are or how much money they have. Education was the gateway to opportunity for me. It was the gateway for Michelle. And now more than ever, it is the gateway to a middle-class life.
For the first time in a generation, nearly every state has answered our call to raise their standards for teaching and learning. Some of the worst schools in the country have made real gains in math and reading. Millions of students are paying less for college today because we finally took on a system that wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on banks and lenders.
And now you have a choicewe can gut education, or we can decide that in the United States of America, no child should have her dreams deferred because of a crowded classroom or a crumbling school. No family should have to set aside a college acceptance letter because they don’t have the money. No company should have to look for workers in China because they couldn’t find any with the right skills here at home.
Government has a role in this. But teachers must inspire; principals must lead; parents must instill a thirst for learning, and students, you’ve got to do the work. And together, I promise youwe can out-educate and out-compete any country on Earth. Help me recruit 100,000 math and science teachers in the next ten years, and improve early childhood education. Help give two million workers the chance to learn skills at their community college that will lead directly to a job. Help us work with colleges and universities to cut in half the growth of tuition costs over the next ten years. We can meet that goal together. You can choose that future for America.
In a world of new threats and new challenges, you can choose leadership that has been tested and proven. Four years ago, I promised to end the war in Iraq. We did. I promised to refocus on the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11. We have. We’ve blunted the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, and in 2014, our longest war will be over. A new tower rises above the New York skyline, al Qaeda is on the path to defeat, and Osama bin Laden is dead.
Tonight, we pay tribute to the Americans who still serve in harm’s way. We are forever in debt to a generation whose sacrifice has made this country safer and more respected. We will never forget you. And so long as I’m Commander-in-Chief, we will sustain the strongest military the world has ever known. When you take off the uniform, we will serve you as well as you’ve served usbecause no one who fights for this country should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their head, or the care that they need when they come home.
Around the world, we’ve strengthened old alliances and forged new coalitions to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. We’ve reasserted our power across the Pacific and stood up to China on behalf of our workers. From Burma to Libya to South Sudan, we have advanced the rights and dignity of all human beingsmen and women; Christians and Muslims and Jews.
But for all the progress we’ve made, challenges remain. Terrorist plots must be disrupted. Europe’s crisis must be contained. Our commitment to Israel’s security must not waver, and neither must our pursuit of peace. The Iranian government must face a world that stays united against its nuclear ambitions. The historic change sweeping across the Arab World must be defined not by the iron fist of a dictator or the hate of extremists, but by the hopes and aspirations of ordinary people who are reaching for the same rights that we celebrate today.
So now we face a choice. My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly.
After all, you don’t call Russia our number one enemyand not al Qaedaunless you’re still stuck in a Cold War time warp. You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. My opponent said it was “tragic” to end the war in Iraq, and he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan. I have, and I will. And while my opponent would spend more money on military hardware that our Joint Chiefs don’t even want, I’ll use the money we’re no longer spending on war to pay down our debt and put more people back to workrebuilding roads and bridges; schools and runways. After two wars that have cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, it’s time to do some nation-building right here at home.
You can choose a future where we reduce our deficit without wrecking our middle class. Independent analysis shows that my plan would cut our deficits by $4 trillion. Last summer, I worked with Republicans in Congress to cut $1 trillion in spending – because those of us who believe government can be a force for good should work harder than anyone to reform it, so that it’s leaner, more efficient, and more responsive to the American people.
I want to reform the tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and asks the wealthiest households to pay higher taxes on incomes over $250,000 – the same rate we had when Bill Clinton was president; the same rate we had when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest surplus in history, and a lot of millionaires to boot.
Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission. No party has a monopoly on wisdom. No democracy works without compromise. But when Governor Romney and his allies in Congress tell us we can somehow lower our deficit by spending trillions more on new tax breaks for the wealthywell, you do the math. I refuse to go along with that. And as long as I’m President, I never will.
I refuse to ask middle class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising their kids just to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. I refuse to ask students to pay more for college; or kick children out of Head Start programs, or eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans who are poor, elderly, or disabled – all so those with the most can pay less.
And I will never turn Medicare into a voucher. No American should ever have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies. They should retire with the care and dignity they have earned. Yes, we will reform and strengthen Medicare for the long haul, but we’ll do it by reducing the cost of health carenot by asking seniors to pay thousands of dollars more. And we will keep the promise of Social Security by taking the responsible steps to strengthen it – not by turning it over to Wall Street.
This is the choice we now face. This is what the election comes down to. Over and over, we have been told by our opponents that bigger tax cuts and fewer regulations are the only way; that since government can’t do everything, it should do almost nothing. If you can’t afford health insurance, hope that you don’t get sick. If a company releases toxic pollution into the air your children breathe, well, that’s just the price of progress. If you can’t afford to start a business or go to college, take my opponent’s advice and “borrow money from your parents.”
You know what? That’s not who we are. That’s not what this country’s about. As Americans, we believe we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rightsrights that no man or government can take away. We insist on personal responsibility and we celebrate individual initiative. We’re not entitled to success. We have to earn it. We honor the strivers, the dreamers, the risk-takers who have always been the driving force behind our free enterprise systemthe greatest engine of growth and prosperity the world has ever known.
But we also believe in something called citizenshipa word at the very heart of our founding, at the very essence of our democracy; the idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another, and to future generations. We believe that when a CEO pays his autoworkers enough to buy the cars that they build, the whole company does better.
We believe that when a family can no longer be tricked into signing a mortgage they can’t afford, that family is protected, but so is the value of other people’s homes, and so is the entire economy. We believe that a little girl who’s offered an escape from poverty by a great teacher or a grant for college could become the founder of the next Google, or the scientist who cures cancer, or the President of the United Statesand it’s in our power to give her that chance.
We know that churches and charities can often make more of a difference than a poverty program alone. We don’t want handouts for people who refuse to help themselves, and we don’t want bailouts for banks that break the rules. We don’t think government can solve all our problems. But we don’t think that government is the source of all our problems – any more than are welfare recipients, or corporations, or unions, or immigrants, or gays, or any other group we’re told to blame for our troubles.
Because we understand that this democracy is ours.
We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.
As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. So you see, the election four years ago wasn’t about me. It was about you. My fellow citizens – you were the change. You’re the reason there’s a little girl with a heart disorder in Phoenix who’ll get the surgery she needs because an insurance company can’t limit her coverage. You did that.
You’re the reason a young man in Colorado who never thought he’d be able to afford his dream of earning a medical degree is about to get that chance. You made that possible. You’re the reason a young immigrant who grew up here and went to school here and pledged allegiance to our flag will no longer be deported from the only country she’s ever called home; why selfless soldiers won’t be kicked out of the military because of who they are or who they love; why thousands of families have finally been able to say to the loved ones who served us so bravely: “Welcome home.”
If you turn away now – if you buy into the cynicism that the change we fought for isn’t possible, well, change will not happen. If you give up on the idea that your voice can make a difference, then other voices will fill the void: lobbyists and special interests; the people with the $10 million checks who are trying to buy this election and those who are making it harder for you to vote; Washington politicians who want to decide who you can marry, or control health care choices that women should make for themselves.
Only you can make sure that doesn’t happen. Only you have the power to move us forward. I recognize that times have changed since I first spoke to this convention. The times have changedand so have I. I’m no longer just a candidate. I’m the President.
I know what it means to send young Americans into battle, for I have held in my arms the mothers and fathers of those who didn’t return. I’ve shared the pain of families who’ve lost their homes, and the frustration of workers who’ve lost their jobs. If the critics are right that I’ve made all my decisions based on polls, then I must not be very good at reading them. And while I’m proud of what we’ve achieved together, I’m far more mindful of my own failings, knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when he said, “I have been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming conviction that I had no place else to go.”
But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful about America. Not because I think I have all the answers. Not because I’m naïve about the magnitude of our challenges. I’m hopeful because of you. The young woman I met at a science fair who won national recognition for her biology research while living with her family at a homeless sheltershe gives me hope.
The auto worker who won the lottery after his plant almost closed, but kept coming to work every day, and bought flags for his whole town and one of the cars that he built to surprise his wifehe gives me hope.
The family business in Warroad, Minnesota that didn’t lay off a single one of their four thousand employees during this recession, even when their competitors shut down dozens of plants, even when it meant the owners gave up some perks and paybecause they understood their biggest asset was the community and the workers who helped build that businessthey give me hope.
And I think about the young sailor I met at Walter Reed hospital, still recovering from a grenade attack that would cause him to have his leg amputated above the knee. Six months ago, I would watch him walk into a White House dinner honoring those who served in Iraq, tall and twenty pounds heavier, dashing in his uniform, with a big grin on his face; sturdy on his new leg. And I remember how a few months after that I would watch him on a bicycle, racing with his fellow wounded warriors on a sparkling spring day, inspiring other heroes who had just begun the hard path he had traveled. He gives me hope.
I don’t know what party these men and women belong to. I don’t know if they’ll vote for me. But I know that their spirit defines us. They remind me, in the words of Scripture, that ours is a “future filled with hope.” And if you share that faith with meif you share that hope with meI ask you tonight for your vote. If you reject the notion that this nation’s promise is reserved for the few, your voice must be heard in this election. If you reject the notion that our government is forever beholden to the highest bidder, you need to stand up in this election.
If you believe that new plants and factories can dot our landscape; that new energy can power our future; that new schools can provide ladders of opportunity to this nation of dreamers; if you believe in a country where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules, then I need you to vote this November.
America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won’t promise that now. Yes, our path is harderbut it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longerbut we travel it together. We don’t turn back. We leave no one behind. We pull each other up. We draw strength from our victories, and we learn from our mistakes, but we keep our eyes fixed on that distant horizon, knowing that Providence is with us, and that we are surely blessed to be citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless these United States.
Glen Ford of BlackAgendaReport
On Obama Domestic and Foreign Policies
“Effective Evil” or Progressives Best Hope? Glen Ford vs. Michael Eric Dyson on Obama Presidency
7 September 2012
Well, the good doctor is certainly not going to get us to defend a lack of coverage of people for healthcare. The fact of the matter, the real history of healthcare is that Obamas bill was actually born in the Heritage Foundationthats a right-wing Republican think tankin the late ’80s. Essentially the same bill was a Republican bill in 1993. Bob Dole ran on that bill in 1996. Mitt Romney picked up that bill for Massachusetts later on. And it then emerged as the Obama bill. The year 2009 was the year for single payer. What Obama actually did was to browbeat, isolate the part of the Democratic Party, which was a majority of the Democratic Partyand the Republicans took no part in thisin order to impose this regime, which in fact puts the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies in the money flow for billions and billions of dollars and does not reduce the rising costs of healthcare. It can’t, because their profits are all tied to it. And as those costs of healthcare continue to increase, the pressures for austerity then increase. And they are already being used as excuses for austerity. And then Obama comes with his model for austerity and his $4 trillion cuts, introduced by his hand-picked commission for deficit reduction.
So, youre paintingthis is the attempt of people who want to defend Obama from the leftyou attempt to say that hes a victim of all these Republican forces, but in fact he is the initiator, from within the Democratic Party, of these austerity measures. He is the initiator of preventive detention. Preventive detention, which issavages the Bill of Rights, I think it basically abolishes the rule of law in this country. It was just a theory under Bush. It was a presidential opinion that inherent in the presidency was the right to detain, to lock up, and throw away the key forever, anybody, including U.S. citizens designated by the president. But that was just the presidents opinion. It fell to President Obama to nurture and guide through Congress a bill, actual legislation, that brings for the first time to the United States a preventive detention without trial. That is making history. Thats part of the Obama legacy. And that was not a Republican concoction, you see.
And that makes him the lesser of two evils, not because he is more evil than the Republicans even, certainly not than Hitler, as you tried to put on us. Its because he can accomplish, because people like yourself insist, even though you acknowledge most of these crimes that Ive elucidated have been committed under his watch, even though you acknowledge this, you continue to support him, and you make him a fait accompli, and you allow him to bring in more and more of the right-wing agenda, which then passes, in ways that the Republicans could never get it passed, just as George Bush could never complete his assault on Social Security. These Republicans couldnt do it, either. They cantthey cant put the ax to Medicaid and Medicare. They dont have the power. But, if President Obama puts his muscle behind the $4 trillion of cuts, then the deed is done. That makes him the more effective evil. . . .
No, Im not saying that. Im saying that with Romney in the White House, even Dr. Dyson and others, many others, would join in the resistance to austerity, the resistance to war. Apparently, they cannot muster the energy to do that under a Democratic president, under the first black president. Its their behavior that does in fact facilitate these austerity assaults and these warthis warmongering, because they dont resist it, and they accept it as something that is a fait accompli, that is an inevitability. But what our obligation is, is to resist austerity. I do not accept that Obama has to make these so-called compromises. I dont think their compromises; I think theyre part of his overall plan to have a grand accord with the Republicans. But if you accept that, then youre saying that the Democrats could not on their own stop these assaults on Social Security. And thats just not true. But they cannot be expected to stop these assaults on entitlement programs if there is a Democrat president in office who is putting his bully pulpit and his immense prestige within the party itself towards these compromises. Thats what Obama has done. Thats how he facilitates it. And, yes, if you do notif you do not have an effective critique, make effective demands against this president, then he will go on his right-wing-drifting merry way. . . .
Yeah, we on the black left have absolutely no impact on what the tea party and right-wing Republicans and racists do or say. We should have some effect on what our own communities, especially the African-American community, which has historically been the most progressive constituency in the United States, and so we direct our comments there. The African-American community is involved deeply in the Democratic Party, and thats where our critique should be, and thats where it would have the most effect. I have to remind everyone, includingincluding Dr. Dyson, that Obama introduced his model for austerity in 2010. Thats when the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Thats when the Republicans could pass nothing. And I think they can pass nothing like the draconian measures that they propose today, unless they get help from the Democratic president. The deficit reduction commission, which he commissioned to make that model for austerity, its findings were not accepted even by most ofby enough of the commission to make it the verdict of the commission itself.
So, when Obama quotes the commission, hes talking about the two right-wingers that he appointed to head ita right-wing Democrat and a Republican. He adopted the $4 trillion figure that they came up with. Its the figure that he offered the Republicans last summer, if youll remember. And the Republican figure, in terms of spending cuts, was essentially the same as Obamas figure. The difference between the two was thatObama included some modest tax hikes, and the Republicans would have no more of it. But the people on the receiving end of those cuts, it really didnt matter to them whether there was a modest tax increase or not. They absorbed the pain. And that is the same $4 trillion that he solemnly promises to carry forward in his second term. So, Obama is president. He is an agent of his own will. He is not a superhuman being. He is the president who can make lots of Democrats in Congress bend to his will and accept austerity as the law of the land and the future. . . .
Hes not the peace president; he is the war president and recognized as such. Thats why his war-making prowess has such a high profile in his re-election campaign. At one point, President Obama was simultaneously drone-bombing five countries. Those were Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan and Pakistan. And he has succeeded in redefining war. These are historical accomplishments of the worst kind. Hes redefined war, and he did this with Libya, after bombing this country for seven months, certainly inflicting tens of thousands of deaths, although the United States doesnt acknowledge how many people were killed. After seven months of bombing Libya, President Obama tells the U.S. Congress that this doesnt come under the War Powers Act, because it wasnt a war at all. And it wasnt a war at all because, as far as we know, no Americans were killed. And this is a redefinition of war. This is truly historic, a redefinition of war. It is not a war, as far as Obamas doctrine is concerned, unless Americans are killed. So you can slaughter as many people in the world as you want to, as long as Americans casualties are kept at low or no. Then its not a war, and its not even the Congresss business what you do. So, this is definitely a war president.
And I do not understand why people who are peace-minded, like the good doctor, are not up in arms, why folk who oppose Republican wars cannot seem to bring themselves to oppose Democratic wars. But as a result of their failure to oppose these wars and the expansion of the definition or the alteration of the definition of wars, these will continue. And that lies on people like Dr. Dysons head. . . .
Well, we are certainly not encouraging people to vote for the more effective evil. But, however, members of my family and friends and people that we at Black Agenda Report deal with closely, politically, are going to vote for President Obama. All we ask of them is that they not tell any lies about his record in the process, to tell the truth. And truth telling is not something thats just engaged in in highfalutin principle; we make our decisions based upon the truth. Dr. Dyson just alluded to President Obamas new doctrine of foreign policy, which is that any time some group of peopleand you can always find some groupasks that the United States intervene in the internal affairs of their country, then the United States should. He never mentioned the term “international law.” And this is one of the great historical legacies of the Obama administration. He has ignored international law, laws that have evolved over hundreds of years, ignored the sovereignty of nations and decided that, well, wherever the United States deems evil to occur, it will and should intervene militarily. That is anarchy. That is chaos. But actually its called imperialism.
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#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 Glenn C. Loury
In this pithy discussion, renowned scholars debate the American penal system through the lensand as a legacyof an ugly and violent racial past. Economist Loury argues that incarceration rises even as crime rates fall because we have become increasingly punitive. According to Loury, the disproportionately black and brown prison populations are the victims of civil rights opponents who successfully moved the country’s race dialogue to a seemingly race-neutral concern over crime. Loury’s claims are well-supported with genuinely shocking statistics, and his argument is compelling that even if the racial argument about causes is inconclusive, the racial consequences are clear.
Three shorter essays respond: Stanford law professor Karlan examines prisoners as an inert ballast in redistricting and voting practices; French sociologist Wacquant argues that the focus on race has ignored the fact that inmates are first and foremost poor people; and Harvard philosophy professor
Shelby urges citizens to break with Washington’s political outlook on race. The group’s respectful sparring results in an insightful look at the conflicting theories of race and incarceration, and the slim volume keeps up the pace of the argument without being overwhelming.Publishers Weekly
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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 Obamas 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 FDRs and just as transformative. It prevented an imminent depression, while jump-starting Obamas 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. Its 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 Deals unemployment insurance system. Its 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 worlds largest wind farm, a new U.S. battery industry, a new high-speed rail network, the worlds highest-speed Internet network. Its main legacy, like the New Deals, will be change.
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By Cleveland Sellers with Robert Terrell
Among histories of the civil rights movement of the 1960s there are few personal narratives better than this one. Besides being an insider’s account of the rise and fall of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, it is an eyewitness report of the strategies and the conflicts in the crucial battle zones as the fight for racial justice raged across the South. This memoir by Cleveland Sellers, a SNCC volunteer, traces his zealous commitment to activism from the time of the sit-ins, demonstrations, and freedom rides in the early ’60s. In a narrative encompassing the Mississippi Freedom Summer (1964), the historic march in Selma, the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City, and the murders of civil rights activists in Mississippi, he recounts the turbulent history of SNCC and tells the powerful story of his own no-return dedication to the cause of civil rights and social change.
The River of No Return is acclaimed as a book that is destined to become a standard text for those wishing to perceive the civil rights struggle from within the ranks of one of its key organizations and to note the divisive history of the movement as groups striving for common goals were embroiled in conflict and controversy.
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By Rita Dove
Selecting poets and poems to represent a century of poetry, especially the riotous twentieth century in America, is a massive undertaking fraught with peril and complication. Poet Rita Dove-a Pulitzer Prize- winning former U.S. poet laureate, professor, and presidential scholar- embarked on what became a consuming four-year odyssey. She reports on obstacles and discoveries in an exacting and forthright introduction, featuring striking quotes, vivid profiles, and a panoramic view of the evolution of poetic visions and styles that helped bring about social as well as artistic change […] Dove’s incisive perception of the role of poetry in cultural and social awakenings infuses this zestful and rigorous gathering of poems both necessary and unexpected by 180 American poets. This landmark anthology will instantly enhance and invigorate every poetry shelf or section.Booklist
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This remarkable biography, based on much new information, examines the life and times of one of the most prominent African-American intellectuals of the nineteenth century. Born in New York in 1819, Alexander Crummell was educated at Queen’s College, Cambridge, after being denied admission to Yale University and the Episcopal Seminary on purely racial grounds. In 1853, steeped in the classical tradition and modern political theory, he went to the Republic of Liberia as an Episcopal missionary, but was forced to flee to Sierra Leone in 1872, having barely survived republican Africa’s first coup. He accepted a pastorate in Washington, D.C., and in 1897 founded the American Negro Academy, where the influence of his ideology was felt by W.E.B. Du Bois and future progenitors of the Garvey Movement. A pivotal nineteenth-century thinker, Crummell is essential to any understanding of twentieth-century black nationalism.
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From The World and Africa, 1965
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posted 8 September 2012