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First, he pointed out that the USA has been threatening Iran unjustly by a blockade and

that Iran had a right to protect its own sovereignty and its rights to trade with the rest of

the world.  Suppose, he said if some other nation was blockading the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

Ron Paul, Paul Craig Roberts, and the Constitution

 Editorial by Rudolph Lewis

 

I am not yet ready to support Paul for president, but I see where some

other people—including you—probably make more sense than I do—Wilson

 

I am not a fan of Ron Paul. I am a supporter of certain positions held by Dr. Paul. His libertarian views extends to an anti-war position and to a defense of civil liberties. That is where our alliance begins and ends. In one aspect, my views align with those of Paul Craig Roberts, a former Reaganite and presently an opponent of the War on Drugs and the War on Terror. Roberts has written two pieces on Ron Paul, namely, "America's Last Chance" and "More on Ron Paul."

In both pieces, Roberts emphasizes a concern for the erosion in America of the rule of law with respect to the Constitution and its Bill of Rights, which under both the Bush and Obama administrations have been under assault as a result of the War on Terror. Roberts fears justifiably like Paul, a future threat to the civil liberties of American citizens. He fears a police state as many on the left, as I do. Educated in Virginia, I learned in elementary school the state bird (cardinal), the state flower (dogwood), and the state motto (sic semper tyrannis). Some Virginians jokingly, in reference to the imaged seal, translate the Latin as "get your foot off my neck." Virginians, romantic in the tradition of John Wilkes Booth, interpret the expression as, "Death to tyrants."

Paul made his anti-war stance tonight in Florida during the Republican debate. Oh, how pleased I was!  The moderator Brian Williams raised war questions with regard to both Iran and Cuba. Of the four candidates, including Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich, Paul alone shed real light on those instances. First, he pointed out that the USA has been threatening Iran unjustly by a blockade and that Iran had a right to protect its own sovereignty and its rights to trade with the rest of the world.  Suppose, he said if some other nation was blockading the Gulf of Mexico. Second, Paul compared Cuba to China. We, he pointed out, can trade and borrow money from authoritarian China. China, Paul suggested, poses much more of a threat militarily and economically to the US than Cuba. If we have an open door policy with China and Vietnam, he questioned, and had an open door policy with the Soviets, why not Cuba?

Paul made the case of his compatriots appear absurd and silly. Maybe that scored few points with the Florida audience or with the MSNBC pundits, but definitely not with FOX pundits and other chickenhawks. But Paul's fans were sustained by the clarity of his argument. he told his compatriots that they were still living in the early 60s. Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich kowtowed to the older anti-Castro generations of Little Havana. But as conservative as Little Havana may be, they too would prefer a more open door policy than that offered by the more bellicose Santorum. Newt and Mitt also did their best to be militantly militaristic in their derisive remarks about the death to the Castros.

You will discover that Paul Craig Roberts mentions very little about Dr. Paul's anti-war libertarianism, except to criticize the incompleteness of his argument. More reserved than Paul, Roberts's foreign policy might be more moderate than either the left or the right wing libertarians. Like SenatorObama, Roberts might speak of "unnecessary" wars, e.g., Iraq. But Roberts might consider necessary a large military for geopolitical concerns and interests, like his former boss Ronald Reagan. In any case Roberts has sense enough to understand that our present military policies are wrong-headed, which includes US sanctioning Israel to reduce Gaza to "the world's largest concentration camp." Roberts also understands that our trillion dollar wars are a threat to Social Security and Medicare, a criticism that is too understated by the progressives and the left. The problem is that Paul does not make that connection either to his own political hurt, especially in a state like Florida with a considerable elderly population.

Ron Paul should be making the point that Social Security and Medicare are threatened by multi-trillion dollar wars that are funded by debt, by bailouts of a deregulated banking system, and by money creation to keep the banks afloat. Libertarians support deregulation, but their position has always been that deregulated industries must not be bailed out with public subsidies, much less subsidies that are so extensive that they threaten government solvency and the value of the currency. More on Ron Paul

Roberts levels a stinging criticism of Dr. Paul's libertarianism, "My complaint is that the only candidate who could bring back the Constitution cannot be elected because of the inflexibility and sectarianism of his base" ("More on Ron Paul"). Two inflexible positions that Paul emphasizes in almost every address are on state's rights and small government. The former threatens blacks and possibly other minorities and women; the latter threatens the elderly and those who will be elderly. The small government  position Paul used last evening to justify the housing boom and bust, which is ideological but that argument does not adjust to the actual facts why Wall Street failed.

Paul joins other GOP conservatives in blaming the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) for the housing crisis, that is to say, he argues that the federal government or liberals or the Democrats caused bankers and other financial investors to write collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), and synthetic CDOSs and credit default swaps (CDSs). The intent of the CRA is however to eliminate discrimination against minorities in acquiring mortgage loans. Janet L. Yellen, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, has testified that "the CRA has increased the volume of responsible lending to low-and moderate-income households" (Les Leopold, The Looting of America, p. 76). Leopold concludes, "There is scant evidence that it [CRA] has had a substantial impact on the housing bubble and bust, let alone on the broader economy" (p. 75).

The CRA has thus been used as a shield, as a racial wolf whistle by conservatives to conceal the underhanded work of the Wall Street financiers and securities sellers. These derivativescollaterized debt obligations (CDOs), synthetic CDOSs and credit default swaps (CDSs)dealers wrote for those who wanted to hedge their bets were not authorized by or encouraged by the federal government and they certainly were not regulated by the Feds, a point truthfully made by Mitt during Monday night's debate.

Romney, however, did not inform his Republican audience  that it were these derivatives, rather than Fannie and Freddie, that caused the collapse of Wall Street and its fantasy casinos. He does not want to admit that capitalism and capitalists are not always moral, just or civically responsible. Such a truth would then put him back under the light to account for his own business ethics, if he indeed has any. Nor did Mitt inform the Florida audience that it were financiers like himself who encouraged banks investment houses, and hedge funders to demand more subprime loans so that the toxic waste of CDOs and CDSs could be written as a means of creating more wealth  through fees for those who wanted to bet on whether the subprime loans would default or not. 

It was the manufacture and dealing of CDOs and CDSs, as a means of hedging against default of  poorly designed mortgages, and the manipulation of the risks as  a means to increase fees to billions of dollars on toxic securities that add up to tens of trillions of dollars unbacked by real assets or real property. Banks and insurances companies like AIG that indulged in these practices, encouraged them and wrote them and issued them, lacked the liquidity to cover the bets when the housing market plummeted because demand finally did not meet a supply supplementing by overbuilding, all of which caused panic and the failure of Wall Street institutions.

It is true that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac followed reputable financial institutions in the buying of these derivatives (toxic waste) and got into trouble like Bear Stearns. But the CRA nor Fannie and Freddie began or created the fantasy casinos, no more than school districts or states who also invested in the CDOs and the synthetic CDOs  and CDSs and lost taxpayers money or their employees pensions to these crooked financial houses who knew they were selling shoddy goods to the ignorant and unaware. If I can discover this truth, then Ron Paul knows its truth as well. In short, it is regrettable that Dr. Paul limits his criticism to Big Government and altogether allows Big Finance to escape a just criticism, as if governments and corporations cannot both be excessive exploiters of the non-propertied classes, and the gullible. It was private individuals who created slavery, not government, as my friend Wilson reminds me. Governments come later to support the claims of its citizens.

Roberts neither agrees with the neo-cons nor sanctions neo-liberalism (or global labor arbitrage). Paul stands against the former but is muddy on the second because of his inflexibility on the issues of small government and state's rights. There is an exception he mentioned last evening with respect to the federally-aided state programs to save the Everglades. This flexible instance may be a sign of hope that Paul understands that politics demands more than ideological purity. But we are probably in for worst conservative garbage from Romney and Gingrich. It is possible that Roberts' fears are exaggerated. Maybe our “last chance” of redemption does not lie in of a 70-year old white Texas congressman, who regrettably is too sectarian and too inflexible.

To hunger for a better Ron Paul, Roberts must realize, is daydreaming and merely a means to put the question before America the real threats to the Constitution that lie ahead. All of us need to make demands on the next president (likely Barack Obama), the absolute need to bring an end to the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, both of which have spawned an infectious and frightful abuse of the Constitution and American civil liberties, thus curtailing the possibility of peace and prosperity in our life time.

posted  25 January 2012 

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Community Reinvestment Act had nothing to do with subprime crisis—Aaron Pressman—29 September 2008—Fresh off the false and politicized attack on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, today we’re hearing the know-nothings blame the subprime crisis on the Community Reinvestment Act —a 30-year-old law that was actually weakened by the Bush administration just as the worst lending wave began. This is even more ridiculous than blaming Freddie and Fannie. The Community Reinvestment Act, passed in 1977, requires banks to lend in the low-income neighborhoods where they take deposits. Just the idea that a lending crisis created from 2004 to 2007 was caused by a 1977 law is silly. But it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that most subprime loans were made by firms that aren’t subject to the CRA. University of Michigan law professor Michael Barr testified back in February before the House Committee on Financial Services that 50% of subprime loans were made by mortgage service companies not subject to comprehensive federal supervision and another 30% were made by affiliates of banks or thrifts which are not subject to routine supervision or examinations. As former Fed Governor Ned Gramlich said in an August, 2007, speech shortly before he passed away: “In the subprime market where we badly need supervision, a majority of loans are made with very little supervision. It is like a city with a murder law, but no cops on the beat.”BusinessWeek

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The NDAA's Historic Assault on American Liberty—2 January 2012—Jonathan Turley's Blog—By signing into law the NDAA, the president has awarded the military extraordinary powers to detain US citizens without trial—President Barack Obama rang in the New Year by signing the NDAA law with its provision allowing him to indefinitely detain citizens. It was a symbolic moment, to say the least. With Americans distracted with drinking and celebrating, Obama signed one of the greatest rollbacks of civil liberties in the history of our country … and citizens partied in unwitting bliss into the New Year. Ironically, in addition to breaking his promise not to sign the law, Obama broke his promise on signing statements and attached a statement that he really does not want to detain citizens indefinitely (see the text of the statement here). Obama insisted that he signed the bill simply to keep funding for the troops.

It was a continuation of the dishonest treatment of the issue by the White House since the law first came to light. As discussed earlier, the White House told citizens that the president would not sign the NDAA because of the provision. That spin ended after sponsor Senator Carl Levin (Democrat, Michigan) went to the floor and disclosed that it was the White House and insisted that there be no exception for citizens in the indefinite detention provision.CommonDreams

Blacks for Ron Paul…? / Dick Riding Obama Music Video By Will I. Am

Blacks for Obama? Don’t Assume That Anymore (Harris)

Exploring Romney's Shifting Stances

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Iran slams EU oil embargo, warns could hit U.S.—23 January 2012—The United States, which imposed its own sanctions against Iran's oil trade and central bank on Dec. 31, welcomed the EU move, as did Israel. It has warned it might attack Iran if sanctions do not deflect Tehran from a course that some analysts argue could potentially give Iran a nuclear bomb next year.—Reuters

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Obama delivers a confrontational State of the Union address—The president opens an election-year debate on the role of government, drawing contrasts with Republicans on taxes for the wealthy and mortgage refinancing.—David Lauter—24 January 2012— Only a few months ago, many voters had seemed on the verge of writing Obama off. But in recent weeks, two developments have given him a chance to ask those voters for another look. One is the economy, which has started to show signs of improvement— declining unemployment, rising consumer confidence and reduced levels of household debt. The other is the way the Republican primary race recently has focused on the vast wealth (and relatively low tax burden) of the party's sometimes front-runner, Mitt Romney.

Obama drove straight at the wealth issue with the signature proposal of his speech: a minimum tax for millionaires that formed part of his call for all Americans to pay their "fair share." The proposal, requiring people with incomes of more than $1 million to pay at least 30% in taxes, would conveniently — administration officials insist coincidentally —double the taxes that Romney paid last year, according to the tax return the former Massachusetts governor released earlier in the day.

Similarly, the speech's other major domestic proposal—a plan to make mortgage refinancings more available to homeowners who owe more than their homes' value— would insert the government more directly into the housing market. Republicans have adamantly resisted higher taxes on those they term "job creators." And they have called for the federal government to get out of the housing market entirely, saying that federal involvement has only made the country's foreclosure crisis worse.—
LaTimes

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Dear Friends, last evening Mr. Obama gave Newt Gingrich a lesson in how one throws red meat to the mob. See below.
 
You may note the construction of his Address: it begins and ends with US militaristic bravado. Speaking of flipping the script, the murdered becomes the murderer and the murderer the hero who knows how to complete his mission with a trillion-dollar budget.
 
Who can tolerate in any good conscience this kind of chest-beating? America is Back? A large wealthy nation with a military more powerful than China, Russia, UK, China and a dozen other nations put together and Mr. Obama has the damn gall to boast of battering and disrupting and decimating fourth and fifth rate nations. Yet those peoples have the courage and fortitude to bog down a great nation for over a decade.
 
Back? Poverty growing in black communities by leaps and bounds, wealth continuing to rush upward on Wall Street! What a vacuous and arrogant boast! What outrageous theatrical superficiality!
 
And we think we are getting a bargain when the nation's wealth is ripped from the nation's poor and transferred into the hands of greedy elites or dropped as deadly bombs on the weak and impoverished! And we eat up as if we have been given cake!
 
To paraphrase 
Nikki Giovanni, "Do we have any shame?" Peace Be Still!
Rudy  (25 January 2012)

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Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address—24 January 2012—We gather tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has made the United States safer and more respected around the world.  For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.  For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country.  Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.  The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home. . . . As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana’a to Tripoli.  A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world’s longest-serving dictatorsa murderer with American blood on his hands.  Today, he is gone.  And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied. 

How this incredible transformation will end remains uncertain.  But we have a huge stake in the outcome.  And while it’s ultimately up to the people of the region to decide their fate, we will advocate for those values that have served our own country so well.  We will stand against violence and intimidation.  We will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beingsmen and women; Christians, Muslims and Jews.  We will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies and open markets, because tyranny is no match for liberty.

And we will safeguard America’s own security against those who threaten our citizens, our friends, and our interests.  Look at Iran.  Through the power of our diplomacy, a world that was once divided about how to deal with Iran’s nuclear program now stands as one.  The regime is more isolated than ever before; its leaders are faced with crippling sanctions, and as long as they shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent.

Let there be no doubt:  America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.

 But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better, and if Iran changes course and meets its obligations, it can rejoin the community of nations. The renewal of American leadership can be felt across the globe.  Our oldest alliances in Europe and Asia are stronger than ever.  Our ties to the Americas are deeper.  Our ironclad commitmentand I mean ironcladto Israel’s security has meant the closest military cooperation between our two countries in history.

We’ve made it clear that America is a Pacific power, and a new beginning in Burma has lit a new hope.  From the coalitions we’ve built to secure nuclear materials, to the missions we’ve led against hunger and disease; from the blows we’ve dealt to our enemies, to the enduring power of our moral example, America is back. . . .

One of my proudest possessions is the flag that the SEAL Team took with them on the mission to get bin Laden.  On it are each of their names.  Some may be Democrats.  Some may be Republicans.  But that doesn’t matter.  Just like it didn’t matter that day in the Situation Room, when I sat next to Bob Gatesa man who was George Bush’s defense secretaryand Hillary Clintona woman who ran against me for president.  All that mattered that day was the mission.Whitehouse

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Obama renews anti-Iran war rhetoric—25 January 2012—US President Barack Obama has once again renewed threats against Iran, saying that Washington will maintain pressure on the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program. On December 31, 2011, President Obama signed into law fresh economic sanctions against the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) in an apparent bid to punish foreign companies and banks that do business with the Iranian financial institution. The bill requires foreign financial firms to make a choice between doing business with the CBI and oil sector or with the US financial sector.The US sanctions, as well as unilateral embargoes imposed on Iran's energy and financial sectors by Britain and Canada, came after the IAEA issued a report on the Iranian nuclear program in early November 2011, accusing Tehran of seeking to weaponize its nuclear technology.—PressTV

Ralph Nader Reviews Obama's State of the Union Speech

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Romney Paid Low Rate on Millions in Investment Income—Mitt Romney has released tax forms showing he paid an effective tax rate of 15.4 percent last year and an even lower rate of 13.9 percent the year before—substantially lower than the rate of most working Americans. Overall, Romney reported income of $43.6 million for 2010 and 2011, virtually all of it from investments. Romney’s charitable contributions included $4.1 million to the Mormon Church.

Also, ABC News has revealed Romney has hidden tens of millions of dollars in offshore tax havens in the Cayman Islands. Romney is said to have invested more than $33 million in more than a dozen funds listed in the Caymans, while his former company, Bain Capital, holds 138 accounts there. Although Romney would still pay U.S. taxes on any investment income, the use of the tax havens would grant him other financial benefits including greater foreign investment.—Seeingblack

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Gingrich Confronts History in the South—William Loren Katz—25 January 2012—“It’s not that I’m a good debater. It’s that I articulate the deepest-felt values of the American people,” announced the victorious Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. Republican voters [only 2% were African Americans] saw his tough, angry, racial language as straight talking. He eagerly strummed racial themes—Black urban pupils serve as assistant janitors to learn what is really needed in school which is how to stick to a job, make and spend money. And then he suggested the urban poor need to get a job and learn decent work habits rather than accept handouts from the “greatest food stamp president.” He was also comfortable with violent rhetoric.

To a voter who suggested he punch President Obama in the mouth, he responded, “I’d like to knock him out!” As for the Second Amendment—it is “not just for hunting pheasants” but a “political right.” He tongue-lashed a TV journalist for questioning his casual approach to marriage. He not only slapped down the African American Fox News’ moderator Juan Williams for questioning his racial appeals, but then ran his rant against the African American as a campaign add. Gingrich is the winner, and so is his in-your-face, openly racial, campaign style. We have repeatedly tried to walk away from this kind of divisive, nasty politics.—Counterpunch

Monkeys and Stimulus Bills

The build-up began of course with Obama’s entry into the presidential primaries that brought so many death threats the Secret Service provided him earlier protection than any candidate in history. Rupert Murdoch was an eager participant. On May 25, 2008 his Fox TV News co-anchor Liz Trotta in New York signed off her Sunday evening news broadcast by urging that “somebody knock off Osama, um, Obama—well both, if we could.” On February 18th 2009 the day after now President Obama signed the Stimulus Package, New Yorkers awoke to a cartoon in Murdoch’s New York Postthat showed two white policemen identifying the dead chimpanzee they just shot as the author of the stimulus package. Does a comment on a TV news broadcast heard by millions, or a newspaper cartoon seen by tens of thousands simply disappear into the night, or does it linger?

Gingrich’s words in praise of General Andrew Jackson’s red-meat belligerence in South Carolina are worth thinking about, and have a personal revulsion for me. On January 16th he lectured voters on history. “South Carolina and the Revolutionary War had a young 13-year-old named Andrew Jackson. He was sabred by a British officer and wore a scar his whole life. Andrew Jackson had a pretty clear idea about America’s enemies: Kill them!” The crowd loudly approval.William Loren Katz, Counterpunch

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Thought of Today—Power that works for righteousness—Finally, there is, somewhere in the Universe a "Power that works for righteousness," and that leads men to do justice to one another. To this power, working upon the hearts and consciences of men, the Negro can always appeal. He has the right upon his side, and in the end the right will prevail. The Negro will, in time, attain to full manhood and citizenship throughout the United States. No better guaranty of this is needed than a comparison of his present with his past. Toward this he must do his part, as lies within his power and his opportunity.

But it will be, after all, largely a white man's conflict, fought out in the forum of the public conscience. The Negro, though eager enough when opportunity offered, had comparatively little to do with the abolition of slavery, which was a vastly more formidable task than will be the enforcement of the Fifteenth Amendment. Charles W. Chestnutt

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Remarks by the President in State of the Union AddressJanuary 2012And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.  The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system’s core purpose:  Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.

So if you are a big bank or financial institution, you’re no longer allowed to make risky bets with your customers’ deposits.  You’re required to write out a “living will” that details exactly how you’ll pay the bills if you fail—because the rest of us are not bailing you out ever again. And if you’re a mortgage lender or a payday lender or a credit card company, the days of signing people up for products they can’t afford with confusing forms and deceptive practices—those days are over.  Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job:  To look out for them. 

We’ll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people’s investments.  Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there’s no real penalty for being a repeat offender.  That’s bad for consumers, and it’s bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing.  So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count. 

And tonight, I’m asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.  This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans. 

Now, a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility will help protect our people and our economy.  But it should also guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future.—whitehouse

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Government Cuts Heating Assistance to 1 Million Homes—Claudio E. Cabrera—7 January 2012—It's going to be a cold winter for many across the nation. Congress and the White House have cut heating assistance to nearly 1 million homes in the Low Income House Energy Assistance Program [LIHEAP]. The program, which provides families with incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty line, or 60 percent of a state's median income, will be reduced in funding by 25 percent. Most households receive an average of $417 a month for heating expenses.

LIHEAP reached nearly 9 million households in 2011, and at least one member of each family who applied for the subsidy was older than 60, younger than 18 or disabled. A gallon of heating oil costs $3.83 and is at the highest its been since 1990. . . . A few members of Congress battled the cuts in this bill. Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) urged the White House to set funding at $4.7 billion for his forthcoming 2013 budget proposal. The senators wrote a letter to the president that included the following: Even though the number of households eligible for the program continues to exceed those receiving assistance, this funding has been a lifeline during the economic downturn and rising energy costs, helping to ensure that people do not have to choose between paying their energy bills and paying for food or medicine." The cut in funding in this legislation is just another example of the have-nots being shafted by the government.TheRoot

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Close Ties to Goldman Enrich Romney’s Public and Private Lives—Nicholas Confessore, Peter Lattman, and Kevin Roose—27 January 2012— When Bain Capital sought to raise money in 1989 for a fast-growing office-supply company named Staples, Mitt Romney, Bain’s founder, called upon a trusted business partner: Goldman Sachs, whose bankers led the company’s initial public offering. When Mr. Romney became governor of Massachusetts, his blind trust gave Goldman much of his wealth to manage, a fortune now estimated to be as much as $250 million.  And as Mr. Romney mounts his second bid for the presidency, Goldman is coming through again: Its employees have contributed at least $367,000 to his campaign, making the firm Mr. Romney’s largest single source of campaign money through the end of September.

No other company is so closely intertwined with Mr. Romney’s public and private lives except Bain itself. And in recent days, Mr. Romney’s ties to Goldman Sachs have lashed another lightning rod to a campaign already fending off withering attacks on his career as a buyout specialist, thrusting the privileges of the Wall Street elite to the forefront of the Republican nominating battle. . . . But other elements of Mr. Romney’s personal and business ties to Goldman may prove more controversial. Bain’s mid-1990s acquisition of Dade Behring, a medical device maker with factories in Florida, has become a totem of the economic upheaval that private equity can inflict. Goldman invested in the acquisition, which brought the bank $120 million and Bain $242 million—but led to the layoffs of hundreds of workers in Miami.

Democrats hammered Mr. Romney over the deal this week. When Mr. Romney was building Bain into one of the world’s premier private equity firms, Goldman’s bankers clamored for Bain business, and won assignments advising or financing an array of Bain deals, including Bain’s 1997 $800 million buyout of Sealy, the nation’s largest mattress company, which it later sold. As Mr. Romney amassed his fortune, Goldman also offered up the services of an elite Boston-based team in the bank’s private wealth management unit. The relationship gave him access to Goldman’s exclusive investment funds, including private equity vehicles known as Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.NYTimes

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Herman Cain endorses Newt Gingrich for president—Kim Geiger—28 January 2012— Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich for president Saturday night in what was billed as a surprise appearance by the retired pizza chain executive. “I hereby officially and enthusiastically endorse Newt Gingrich for president of the United States,” Cain said in a brief speech at the Palm Beach County GOP Party Lincoln Day Dinner in West Palm Beach, Fla. . . .  “One of the biggest reasons is the fact that I know that Speaker Gingrich is a patriot,” Cain said. “Speaker Gingrich is not afraid of bold ideas. And I also know that Speaker Gingrich is running for president, and going through this sausage grinder—I know what this sausage grinder is all about. I know that he’s going through this sausage grinder because he cares about the future of the United States of America. We all do.”

Cain dropped out of the Republican presidential race in December after repeated allegations that he had inappropriate.—LaTimes

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Paul pursued strategy of publishing controversial newsletters, associates say—Jerry Markon and Alice Crites—27 January 2012—A person involved in Paul’s businesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid criticizing a former employer, said Paul and his associates decided in the late 1980s to try to increase sales by making the newsletters more provocative. They discussed adding controversial material, including racial statements, to help the business, the person said. “It was playing on a growing racial tension, economic tension, fear of government,’’ said the person, who supports Paul’s economic policies but is not backing him for president. “I’m not saying Ron believed this stuff. It was good copy. Ron Paul is a shrewd businessman.’’

The articles included racial, anti-Semitic and anti-gay content. They claimed, for example, that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “seduced underage girls and boys’’; they ridiculed black activists by suggesting that New York be named “Zooville” or “Lazyopolis”; and they said the 1992 Los Angeles riots ended “when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks.’’ The June 1990 edition of the Ron Paul Political Report included the statement: “Homosexuals, not to speak of the rest of society, were far better off when social pressure forced them to hide their activities.”

It is unclear precisely how much money Paul made from his newsletters, but during the years he was publishing them, he reduced his debts and substantially increased his net worth, according to his congressional and presidential disclosure reports. In 1984, he reported debt of up to $765,000, most of which was gone by 1995, when he reported a net worth of up to $3.3 million. Last year, he reported a net worth of up to $5.2 million.—WashingtonPost

Lawrence O’Donnell—Rewriting American Airlines Bankruptcy

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Maryland Governor Signs Castle Doctrine Bill—21 May 2010—Delegate Mike Smigiel—In what amounts to a stealthy victory for Second Amendment advocates in Maryland, yesterday, the Governor signed into law a modified “Castle Doctrine” bill (SB-411). This new law will provide civil immunity for a person defending their dwelling or place of business. This immunity provides that the person is not liable for damages for a personal injury or death of an individual when protecting yourself in your home. Maryland added the proviso that the doctrine only applies as long as the persons defending themselves are not convicted of a crime related to the act for which the immunity is being sought. Second Amendment supporters should take hope in the passage of this modified “Castle Doctrine.” Not only have we been successful in defeating anti-second amendment legislation such as HB-820, (the registration bill from this past session), we have been incrementally advancing pro-Second Amendment bills into law. These advances are done without a lot of pomp and circumstance so as not to draw the attention of the gun-fearing progressives.

So don’t believe that nothing is being done to recapture the liberties that the progressives have taken from us. There have been many such small victories which receive little or no press coverage. Know that you can make a difference and that your pro-Second Amendment legislators are not only killing the bad bills we are obtaining small victories every session.—delegatemike

Donald Ritchie—Foundations of the U. Senate

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

Fiction

#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

Non-fiction

#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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American Creation

Triumphs and Tragedies in the Founding of the Republic

By Joseph J. Ellis

This subtle, brilliant examination of the period between the War of Independence and the Louisiana Purchase puts Pulitzer-winner Ellis (Founding Brothers) among the finest of America's narrative historians. Six stories, each centering on a significant creative achievement or failure, combine to portray often flawed men and their efforts to lay the republic's foundation. Set against the extraordinary establishment of the most liberal nation-state in the history of Western Civilization... in the most extensive and richly endowed plot of ground on the planet are the terrible costs of victory, including the perpetuation of slavery and the cruel oppression of Native Americans. Ellis blames the founders' failures on their decision to opt for an evolutionary revolution, not a risky severance with tradition (as would happen, murderously, in France, which necessitated compromises, like retaining slavery).  

Despite the injustices and brutalities that resulted, Ellis argues, this deferral strategy was a profound insight rooted in a realistic appraisal of how enduring social change best happens. Ellis's lucid, illuminating and ironic prose will make this a holiday season hit.— Publishers Weekly /  American Creation (Joseph Ellis interview)

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The Revolution: A Manifesto

By Ron Paul

Congressman, Republican Presidential candidate and author Paul (A Foreign Policy of Freedom) says "Let the revolution begin" with this libertarian plea for a return to "the principles of our Founding Fathers: liberty, self-government, the Constitution, and a noninterventionist foreign policy." Specific examples demonstrate how far U.S. law has strayed from this path, particularly over the past century, as well as Paul's firm grasp of history and dedication to meaningful debate: "it is revolutionary to ask whether we need troops in 130 countries . . . whether the accumulation of more and more power in Washington has been good for us . . . to ask fundamental questions about privacy, police-state measures, taxation, social policy." Though he can rant, Paul is informative and impassioned, giving readers of any political bent food for thought.

With harsh words for both Democrats and Republicans, and especially George W. Bush, Paul's no-nonsense text questions the "imperialist" foreign policy that's led to the war in Iraq ("one of the most ill considered, poorly planned, and . . . unnecessary military conflicts in American history"), the economic situation and rampant federalism treading on states' rights and identities ("The Founding Fathers did not intend for every American neighborhood to be exactly the same"). Though his policy suggestions can seem extreme, Paul's book gives new life to old debates.—Publishers Weekly

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King of the Mountain

The Nature of Political Leadership

By Arnold M. Ludwig

“People may choose to ignore their animal heritage by interpreting their behavior as divinely inspired, socially purposeful, or even self-serving, all of which they attribute to being human, but they masticate, fornicate, and procreate, much as chimps and apes do, so they should have little cause to get upset if they learn that they act like other primates when they politically agitate, debate, abdicate, placate, and administrate, too."—from the book King of the Mountain presents the startling findings of Arnold M. Ludwig's eighteen-year investigation into why people want to rule. The answer may seem obvious—power, privilege, and perks—but any adequate answer also needs to explain why so many rulers cling to power even when they are miserable, trust nobody, feel besieged, and face almost certain death. Ludwig's results suggest that leaders of nations tend to act remarkably like monkeys and apes in the way they come to power, govern, and rule.

Profiling every ruler of a recognized country in the twentieth century—over 1,900 people in all­­, Ludwig establishes how rulers came to power, how they lost power, the dangers they faced, and the odds of their being assassinated, committing suicide, or dying a natural death. Then, concentrating on a smaller sub-set of 377 rulers for whom more extensive personal information was available, he compares six different kinds of leaders, examining their characteristics, their childhoods, and their mental stability or instability to identify the main predictors of later political success. Ludwig's penetrating observations, though presented in a light-hearted and entertaining way, offer important insight into why humans have engaged in war throughout recorded history as well as suggesting how they might live together in peace.

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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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Enjoy!

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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 24 May 2012

 

 

 

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