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for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes


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The brutal hypocrisy is that while everyone talks about how wonderful

it is for the economy to enjoy low interest rates, lower-middle-class

whites are the principal victims of adjustable rate mortgages.  



Books by Wilson Jeremiah Moses

Golden Age of Black Nationalism, 1850-1925 (1988)  / The Wings of Ethiopia  (1990)

 Alexander Crummell: A Study of Civilization and Discontent (1992)  / Destiny & Race: Selected Writings, 1840-1898  (1992) 

 Black Messiahs and Uncle Toms: Social and Literary Manipulations of a Religious Myth (1993)

Liberian Dreams: Back-to-Africa Narratives from the 1850s  / Afrotopia: The Roots of African American Popular History (2002)

Creative Conflict in African American Thought (2004)

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If this be Lynching . . . (As in Merrill-Lynch)
Mad Dog Moses Froths Again


The United States is funding the war in Iraq with borrowed money.  And where is the United States borrowing the money to finance its war in Iraq?    From China, of course.  The dirty little secret about the war in Iraq is that "Communist" China is footing the bill.  The war is funded by selling American debt and China is buying that debt.  Fed Chairman Bernanke maintains a what-me-worry attitude and consoles us with the assurance that China holds only 4% of American debt.  True, I suppose, but it is convenient for George Bush to have China as his banker, while he seeks to build an Alexandrine empire from the Bosporus to the Hindu Kush.

Did you know that a black man, Stan O'Neal was the CEO of Merrill Lynch, and that he lost his job for contributing to the subprime mortgage debacle, and bringing about the biggest loss that Merrill has ever experienced?  I can already anticipate the cries of African American outrage at this "Lynching," but is he being lynched?   Read on.  First of all, nobody was duped by Brother Stan, while he was pumping his Ponzi scheme.  Stan was really behaving no differently than Alan Greenspan, or Ben Bernanke, or the House and Senate banking committees.   Everybody was pumping the same bubble, including Bear Stearns, Merrill-Lynch, the Federal Reserve Banks, the Treasury Department, and the MIT and Harvard departments of economics.   The Wall Street Journal didn't see this coming; neither did Alan Greenspan, Larry Kudlow, Jim Cramer or public Television's Nightly Business Report.  They all claim they didn't realize the exposure of the various economic sectors to mortgage debt, and they claim they didn't know how risky these investments were. 

Sure, tell me about the tooth fairy!

In 1976 I bought a house in Dallas, with a 9% mortgage and I sold it in 1980 for almost twice as much.  In those days banks almost never issued mortgage loans at or below the prime interest rate.  They derived their profits from the interest that borrowers paid.   Alas those times have become a fairytale that survives only in high school economics text books.   Today, banks "bundle" and "securitize" these mortgages and sell them to speculators, who expect to trade them on the secondary market.   Profits come from trading in (or speculating on) mortgage futures.  Mortgages are bought and sold on the assumption that their monetary values will rise for two reasons:  1. Increase in the amounts that borrowers will pay as their interest rates rise. (a very tenuous assumption) 2.  Confidence that the future value of the securitized mortgages will perpetually increase as they are traded in the secondary market.

The brutal hypocrisy is that while everyone talks about how wonderful it is for the economy to enjoy low interest rates, lower-middle-class whites are the principal victims of adjustable rate mortgages.   Lower-middle-class whites, with median household incomes of $45,000 cannot afford to keep up with the rising interest rates, any more than they can afford their gas-guzzling SUVs.  Oil prices are mounting towards $100 per barrel as a result of dollar devaluation, but whether or not these costs will be passed on to consumers is a political matter.  I am tempted to suggest that the oil companies are involved in conspiracies, but that is a theory so unthinkable that, I blush to admit that it even crosses my mind.

Things are bad enough for the lower-middle class, but the poor people in the trailer parks and housing projects haven't a clue.  They are not aware of the workings of the Federal Reserve System; indeed, they don't even know it exists. The Fed is a private sector entity, that controls the lives and economic welfare of everyone, but like the Supreme Court, it is a non-elected body, hence undemocratic.   But unlike the Supreme Court, the Fed is a conclave of private sector banking institutions; its board members are functionally judges in their own cases, regulating the values of stocks and bonds, Treasury Bills, hedge funds, and derivatives.  And what does the median-income American know about hedge funds and derivatives?

When your pension fund invests in the real estate market, you are not speculating in land, but in derivatives, which have no value other than the confidence of speculators that their price will inexorably continue to inflate.  Bernanke is doing his best to meet this expectation, but his lowering of interest rates will not help those who are already losing their homes to foreclosure.  Be certain that these areas of the economy are neither regulated nor closely scrutinized by either Democrats or Republicans.  In the past the Republicans with their constant drum beat against regulation bore a greater share of the guilt.  But the Clinton Democrats, with their rhetoric of abolishing "big government," are equally culpable.

Mia Farrow is currently protesting against the evils of China's economic culpability for the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.   What about China's economic culpability for the American war in Iraq?   Which war has cost the greater number of lives or displaced the greater number of people?

My poor benighted and enfeebled Negro brothers and sisters continue to rock in their churches, to recirculate Garveyite rhetoric, and plan conventions and demonstrations.  Meanwhile Stan O'Neal, one of the smart Negroes negotiates a $100 million severance package from Merrill Lynch, beyond the wildest dreams of Shelby Steele or Cornell West.

If this be Lynching, Stan the Man is certainly making the most of it.

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Please do not remove my name from your list of ignorant, backward, confused, and benighted Negroes.   Yesterday, I naively stated that Stan, "the Mack Man" O'Neal would receive "severance pay" of $100,000,000.   This was ignorant.   In fact, one of the elements of his negotiated departure was that he be allowed to "retire."  He has not been fired, and furthermore it is difficult to calculate exactly how much he will be receiving, but aReuters article printed on Monday, estimated $200,000,000.

Remember Dick Grasso, who "retired" from the New York Stock Exchange?   All Grasso got was a mere $139.5 million "retirement and severance" package. Why would any smart Negro want to waste his time with so-called "black business?" Mack on, Mister Stan!

posted 31 October 2007

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UPDATE: Merrill's CEO Exit: When A Severance Package Isn't Severance
Dow Jones
October 30, 2007: 06:35 PM EST

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) --When is a severance package not a severance package? When Merrill Lynch & Co. says so, some executive compensation experts said on Tuesday.

Merrill (MER) announced the retirement of Chief Executive Stanley O'Neal earlier on Tuesday, just days after the investment bank reported an unexpected third-quarter loss on the back of an $8 billion subprime mortgage-inspired write-down.

O'Neal is getting roughly $160 million in stock options and retirement benefits as he steps down. The company is not paying him any severance, a spokeswomen for the bank said. She declined to comment further.

Mack on, Mister Stan!

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Merrill's CEO Exit

When A Severance Package Isn't Severance
Dow Jones

30 October 2007

SAN FRANCISCO (Dow Jones) --When is a severance package not a severance package? When Merrill Lynch & Co. says so, some executive compensation experts said on Tuesday. Merrill (MER) announced the retirement of Chief Executive Stanley O'Neal earlier on Tuesday, just days after the investment bank reported an unexpected third-quarter loss on the back of an $8 billion subprime mortgage-inspired write-down. O'Neal is getting roughly $160 million in stock options and retirement benefits as he steps down. The company is not paying him any severance, a spokeswomen for the bank said. She declined to comment further.Money.cnn

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Speak My Name

Black Men on Masculinity and the American Dream

Edited by Don Belton

Race Men

By Hazel V. Carby

Carby compares Toussaint L'Ouverture, the ex-slave who liberated Haiti from the French in the 19th century, to Trinidadian writer C.L.R. James, whose Marxist interpretation of the Haitian Revolution, the Black Jacobins, unveiled the complexities of colonialism, class, and the sexist aspects of radical black leadership. She discusses jazz icon Miles Davis's quest for freedom and his misogynistic persona articulated in his autobiography, then praises science fiction writer Samuel R. Delany's Motion of Light in Water as "an effective counterpoint to Miles ... a magnificent attempt to reject the socially created obstacles separating desire from its material achievement, and in the process demolishing and transcending the limitations of heterosexual norms." Indeed, for Carby the major flaw of race men is that their upholding of "the race" does not prominently address the concerns of African American women as well.—Eugene Holley Jr.

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In a discussion of "The Body and Soul of Modernism" Carby reads Nicolas Murray's nude photographs of Paul Robeson, as well as black male nudes by other European and American artists, and argues that for these modernists the black male body represented "essentialized masculinity." However, because the black subject was unable to "gaze back at the viewer," these photographic texts reproduced "the unequal relation of power and subjection of their historical moment" in the early twentieth century. Carby also discusses Robeson's roles in Eugene O'Neill's Emperor Jones and All God's Chillun Got Wings, concluding that, in contrast to the character Robeson portrays in Oscar Micheaux's film Body and Soul, O'Neill utilized a "strategy of inwardness" to present racialized emotional conflicts for Robeson's character, rather than outward resistance and rebellion. Carby's notes that, with his expanding political consciousness and increased commitment to the advancement of the working classes worldwide in the 1930s, Robeson rejected these types of roles. Unfortunately, how these ideological changes were reflected in Robeson's racial consciousness (was Robeson a "race man"?) are left unexplored.

Carby describes the authentic and inauthentic nature of the relationship between ex-convict and folk singer Huddie (Leadbelly) Ledbetter and folklorist John Lomax and his son Alan. She believes that this unusual partnership demonstrated an attempt to use "the aesthetics of the folk" to create a "fictive ethnicity of blackness" that allowed the incorporation of potentially threatening black males into the national community. For C. L. R. James the cricket field in England's colonial territories not only was the space where "ideologies of masculinity" were put to the test, but also was "the battleground out of which nationhood . . . [had to] be forged." Carby argues that in James's Beyond the Boundary (1963) and the novel Minty Alley (1936), "intellectual practice, racial politics, and cricket were . . . unquestioningly imagined within a discourse of autonomous, patriarchal masculinity." In Black Jacobins(1938) James posits the existence of a "revolutionary black manhood that, both individually and collectively, gives birth to an independent black nation state."—African American Review, Fall, 2000 by V.P. Franklin, FindArticles

*   *   *   *   *'s 25 Best Selling Books



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#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

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. WashingtonPost

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Across That Bridge: Life Lessons and a Vision for Change

By John Lewis

The Civil Rights Movement gave rise to the protest culture we know today, and the experiences of leaders like Congressman Lewis have never been more relevant. Now, more than ever, this nation needs a strong and moral voice to guide an engaged population through visionary change. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than forty arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is the author of his autobiography, Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of a Movement, and is the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions, including the Lincoln Medal; the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award (the only one of its kind ever awarded); the NAACP Spingarn Medal; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, among many others.

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The Shameful Life of Salvador Dali

By Ian Gibson

In his detailed and excellent book on Dali, Ian Gibson has documented Dali’s identification with fascism in Spain from the very beginning. During the civil war, Dali never came out in support of the Republic.  He did not collaborate, for example, in the Paris Fair in 1937, where Picasso presented his Guernica, aimed at raising funds for the Republican cause.  And he soon made explicit his sympathies for the fascist coup of 1936 and for the dictatorship that it established in a letter to Buñuel, a well-known filmmaker in Spain.  He made explicit and known his admiration for the figure and writing of the founder of the Spanish fascist party (La Falange), José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and used in his speeches and writings the fascist narrative and expressions (such as the fascist call “Arriba España”), referring to the special role Spain had in promoting the imperial dreams over other nations.  He sympathized with the anti-Semitic views of Hitler and celebrated Franco’s alliance with Hitler and Mussolini against France, Great Britain and the United States.  He also welcomed the “solution to the national problem” in vogue in Nazi and fascist circles at that time. Dali became the major defender of the Franco dictatorship in the artistic world. 

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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update 25 May 2012




Home  Wilson Jeremiah Moses Table

Related files: If this be Lynching . . . (As in Merrill-Lynch)   The Big End of the American Economy?  Mortgage Crisis Lesson   Economic status of African Americans

Bridging the Racial Gap in Education   Moratorium on Theory   Tear Down the Ghetto