Matt Taibbi: “Obama’s Big Sell Out”

THOUGHT MERCHANT

Barack Obama ran for president as a man of the people, standing up to Wall Street as the global economy melted down in that fateful fall of 2008. He pushed a tax plan to soak the rich, ripped NAFTA for hurting the middle class and tore into John McCain for supporting a bankruptcy bill that sided with wealthy bankers “at the expense of hardworking Americans.” Obama may not have run to the left of Samuel Gompers or Cesar Chavez, but it’s not like you saw him on the campaign trail flanked by bankers from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. What inspired supporters who pushed him to his historic win was the sense that a genuine outsider was finally breaking into an exclusive club, that walls were being torn down, that things were, for lack of a better or more specific term, changing.

Then he got elected.

What’s taken place in the…

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How Republicans Rig the Game | Politics News | Rolling Stone

How Republicans Rig the Game | Politics News | Rolling Stone.

The Culture of by any means necessary underscores the narrative that this is a WAR!!

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Recommended 10 Good Reads

Top 10 books for Black History month

From Martin Luther King Jr to black power, these books on the US civil rights struggle show how relevant the issues still are

Martin Luther King at the 1963 March on Washington

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr’s ‘I have a dream’ speech at the March on Washington. Photograph: Rowland Scherman/Getty Images

The US civil rights movement is a perennially popular topic that has spawned a massive body of literature.

  1. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement (Seminar Studies In History) by John A. Kirk


Buy the book

 

1. King: A Critical Biography by David L Lewis

Of the many worthy contenders to choose from, I particularly like Lewis’s 1970 biography of Martin Luther King, because it was one of the first to take on the task after King’s assassination in 1968. While sympathetic to King, the book is not afraid to point to his shortcomings. Revealingly – and perhaps a reflection of King’s acceptance into the pantheon of American heroes – subsequent editions have dropped the word “critical” from the title.

2. Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision by Barbara Ransby

For many years, women’s roles in the civil rights movement were neglected. Ransby’s study charts the remarkable life of activist Ella Baker, who played an influential organising and leadership role over many decades and helped establish the foundations for King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Ransby offers a fascinating portrait of one of the movement’s forgotten true heroes.

3. Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D’Emilio

Rustin is another previously overlooked figure. Gay, pacifist, communist and Quaker, Bayard Rustin was largely kept out of view so as not to attract unwelcome publicity. He was pivotal in organising the 1963 March on Washington and he was a close advisor to King on nonviolence. D’Emilio’s gender studies perspective broaches the touchy subject of sexuality in civil rights studies.

4. In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s by Clayborne Carson

In the 1960s, many organisations contributed to the success of the civil rights movement. Few were as influential as the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, pronounced “snick”). A youth-based movement, SNCC led daring direct action protests such as sit-ins at segregated lunch counters and freedom rides. Carson, a former SNCC member and now the director of the Martin Luther King Jr Papers project, skillfully offers scholarly insight combined with first-hand experience.

5. Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina and the Black Struggle for Freedom by William H Chafe

Chafe’s book was one of the first to examine the civil rights movement from a “bottom up” grassroots perspective. He places the protests that launched the 1960 sit-in movement in a much broader context and a longer history of black activism. This was the first book I read as a graduate student, and it provided a model and inspiration for my own PhD thesis, which took the Little Rock school integration crisis of 1957 as its point of departure.

6. Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy by Mary L Dudziak

In recent years, historians have begun to examine the civil rights movement within the context of international relations. Dudziak shows that the cold war made the US far more conscious of how it treated people of colour at home as it competed with the Soviet Union to win non-white hearts and minds abroad. Her book charts new territory in exploring international dimensions that shaped the movement – and how the movement shaped international relations.

7. Simple Justice: The History of Brown v Board of Education and Black America’s Struggle for Equality by Richard Kluger

The struggle for desegregation in education preceded and outlasted the civil rights movement’s heyday of the 1950s and 1960s. Kluger charts the legal struggle by the NAACP, the US’s oldest civil rights organisation, which led to the landmark Brown school desegregation decision in 1954. The history of the Brown decision reminds us that the movement was built on decades of previous black activism. Kluger’s talent is to focus on the human story and drama in the midst of describing complex courtroom proceedings.

8. Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North by Thomas J Sugrue

We often think of the civil rights movement as a distinct episode in the history of the US south. More recent studies like Sugrue’s have shown that discrimination against African Americans existed nationwide, as did African American struggles to overcome it. His book not only challenges us to reconsider the chronology of the movement beyond the 1950s and 1960s, but also shifts its geographic coordinates to marshal an enormous wealth of research and an impressively diverse range of events.

9. Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness and Race Relations by Brian Ward

The civil rights movement changed US politics and society, but its cultural impact was just as important. Ward’s provocative study argues that black music did not just absorb influences but that it profoundly shaped the movement – from the artists and the venues they played, to the music industry and the role of African American-oriented radio. The author’s exhaustive research turns up some fascinating episodes that reveal just how profound the movement’s impact on popular culture was.

10. Waiting ‘Til the Midnight Hour: A Narrative History of Black Power in America by Peniel E Joseph

Was the black power movement part of the civil rights movement, or something separate? Joseph, a leading figure in the new black power studies, makes the case for its singularity in the most comprehensive overview of the topic published to date. Rather than seeing black power as a series of unconnected iconic episodes and images – Black Panthers toting guns, the clenched fist salutes at the 1968 OlympicsAngela Davis‘s loud and proud Afro – Joseph presents a picture of a coherent movement with its own distinct politics and sensibilities.

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Why Giving Republican Bullies a Bloody Nose Isn’t Enough | NationofChange

Why Giving Republican Bullies a Bloody Nose Isn’t Enough | NationofChange.

Time to stop being the Jackie Robinson of The White House

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The Folly of Empire

The Folly of Empire

Posted on Oct 14, 2013

Illustration by Mr. Fish
The final days of empire give ample employment and power to the feckless, the insane and the idiotic. These politicians and court propagandists, hired to be the public faces on the sinking ship, mask the real work of the crew, which is systematically robbing the passengers as the vessel goes down. The mandarins of power stand in the wheelhouse barking ridiculous orders and seeing how fast they can gun the engines. They fight like children over the ship’s wheel as the vessel heads full speed into a giant ice field. They wander the decks giving pompous speeches. They shout that the SS America is the greatest ship ever built. They insist that it has the most advanced technology and embodies the highest virtues. And then, with abrupt and unexpected fury, down we will go into the frigid waters.

The last days of empire are carnivals of folly. We are in the midst of our own, plunging forward as our leaders court willful economic and environmental self-destruction. Sumer and Rome went down like this. So did the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires. Men and women of stunning mediocrity and depravity led the monarchies of Europe and Russia on the eve of World War I. And America has, in its own decline, offered up its share of weaklings, dolts and morons to steer it to destruction. A nation that was still rooted in reality would never glorify charlatans such as Sen. Ted Cruz, House Speaker John Boehner and former Speaker Newt Gingrich as they pollute the airwaves. If we had any idea what was really happening to us we would have turned in fury against Barack Obama, whose signature legacy will be utter capitulation to the demands of Wall Street, the fossil fuel industry, the military-industrial complex and the security and surveillance state. We would have rallied behind those few, such as Ralph Nader, who denounced a monetary system based on gambling and the endless printing of money and condemned the willful wrecking of the ecosystem. We would have mutinied. We would have turned the ship back.

The populations of dying empires are passive because they are lotus-eaters. There is a narcotic-like reverie among those barreling toward oblivion. They retreat into the sexual, the tawdry and the inane, retreats that are momentarily pleasurable but ensure self-destruction. They naively trust it will all work out. As a species, Margaret Atwood observes in her dystopian novel “Oryx and Crake,” “we’re doomed by hope.” And absurd promises of hope and glory are endlessly served up by the entertainment industry, the political and economic elite, the class of courtiers who pose as journalists, self-help gurus like Oprah and religious belief systems that assure followers that God will always protect them. It is collective self-delusion, a retreat into magical thinking.

“The American citizen thus lives in a world where fantasy is more real than reality, where the image has more dignity than the original,” Daniel J. Boorstin wrote in his book “The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America.” “We hardly dare face our bewilderment, because our ambiguous experience is so pleasantly iridescent, and the solace of belief in contrived reality is so thoroughly real. We have become eager accessories in the great hoaxes of the age. These are the hoaxes we play on ourselves.”

Culture and literacy, in the final stage of decline, are replaced with noisy diversions and empty clichés. The Roman statesman Cicero inveighed against their ancient equivalent—the arena. Cicero, for his honesty, was hunted down and murdered and his hands and head were cut off. His severed head and his right hand, which had written the Philippics, were nailed onto the speaker’s platform in the Forum. The roaring crowds, while the Roman elite spat on the head, were gleefully told he would never speak or write again. In the modern age this toxic, mindless cacophony, our own version of spectacle and gladiator fights, of bread and circus, is pumped into the airwaves in 24-hour cycles. Political life has fused into celebrity worship. Education is primarily vocational. Intellectuals are cast out and despised. Artists cannot make a living. Few people read books. Thought has been banished, especially at universities and colleges, where timid pedants and careerists churn out academic drivel. “Although tyranny, because it needs no consent, may successfully rule over foreign peoples,” Hannah Arendt wrote in “The Origins of Totalitarianism,” “it can stay in power only if it destroys first of all the national institutions of its own people.” And ours have been destroyed.

Sensual pleasure and eternal youth are our overriding obsessions. The Roman emperor Tiberius, at the end, fled to the island of Capri and turned his seaside palace into a house of unbridled lust and violence. “Bevies of girls and young men, whom he had collected from all over the Empire as adepts in unnatural practices, and known as spintriae, would copulate before him in groups of three, to excite his waning passions,” Suetonius wrote in “The Twelve Caesars.” Tiberius trained small boys, whom he called his minnows, to frolic with him in the water and perform oral sex. And after watching prolonged torture, he would have captives thrown into the sea from a cliff near his palace. Tiberius would be followed by Caligula and Nero.

“At times when the page is turning,” Louis-Ferdinand Céline wrote in “Castle to Castle,” “when History brings all the nuts together, opens its Epic Dance Halls! hats and heads in the whirlwind! Panties overboard!”

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The World As It Is: 


Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress

A collection of Truthdig Columns
by Chris Hedges

Keep up with Chris Hedges’ latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more atwww.truthdig.com/chris_hedges.

Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, has written twelve books, including the New York Times best seller “Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt” (2012), which he co-authored with the cartoonist Joe Sacco. Some of his other books include “Death of the Liberal Class” (2010), “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” (2009), “I Don’t Believe in Atheists” (2008) and the best selling “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” (2008). His book “War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning” (2003) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. In 2011, Nation Books published a collection of Hedges’ Truthdig columns called “The World As It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.”

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The event: How racist are you – 1 of 5 – YouTube

The event: How racist are you – 1 of 5 – YouTube.

A Lesson for deniers of racism

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Bill Maher New Rules – California is leading by example – YouTube

Bill Maher New Rules – California is leading by example – YouTube.

The Failure of Democratic Messaging

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Giant Asian Hornets Are Killing People In China, Breeding In Larger Numbers: Reports (UPDATED)

Giant Asian Hornets Are Killing People In China, Breeding In Larger Numbers: Reports (UPDATED).

More bad chit from China

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“A Corporate Trojan Horse”: Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws | Democracy Now!

“A Corporate Trojan Horse”: Obama Pushes Secretive TPP Trade Pact, Would Rewrite Swath of U.S. Laws | Democracy Now!.

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Greg Palast | The Golden Dawn Murder Case, Larry Summers and the New Fascism

Greg Palast | The Golden Dawn Murder Case, Larry Summers and the New Fascism.

The failure of MSM & Democratic messaging, why Democrats are fighting on the wrong battlefield, 21.2 million PR campaign has been waged to make America believe DEBT NOT JOBS is the problem

 

http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/07/28/281405/how-shadowy-right-wing-front-groups-engineered-our-national-embrace-of-debt-reduction-over-job-creation/

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