The Essence of Politics

Thursday, October 01, 2009

The Recession hurt America’s wealthiest, too

Forbes has released its annual 400 richest Americans list and it is clear that the economic recession has had its affect on all Americans. Almost all of America's wealthiest citizens are poorer this year. America's super rich are getting poorer. For only the fifth time since 1982, the collective net worth of The Forbes 400 — our annual tally of the nation's richest people — has declined, falling $300 billion in the past 12 months from $1.57 trillion to $1.27 trillion.

Faltering capital markets and real estate prices, along with divorce and fraud, pushed the fortunes of 314 members down and drove 32 plutocrats off the rankings. Hurt the most: Warren Buffett, America's second-richest citizen. The Oracle of Omaha dropped $10 billion from his personal balance sheet as shares of Berkshire Hathaway fell 20% in 12 months. He is now worth $40 billion.

Beating out Buffett for the 16th straight year as America's richest man is Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Sluggish Microsoft shares and declining outside investments pushed the software visionary's net worth down $7 billion in 12 months. Rounding out the top 10 on The Forbes 400: Oracle founder Larry Ellison ($27 billion); Wal-Mart heirs Christy Walton ($21.5 billion), Jim C. Walton ($19.6 billion), Alice Walton ($19.3 billion), and S. Robson Walton ($19 billion); media maven Michael Bloomberg ($17.5 billion) and energy titans Charles and David Koch ($16 billion each).

The 10 richest Americans lost a combined $39.2 billion in the past 12 months, a 14% decline. Other big losers include casino mogul Kirk Kerkorian, whose nest egg shed $8.2 billion in the past year. Shares of his gambling giant MGM Mirage have fallen 90% from their October 2007 high.

Also hitting the brakes: Enterprise Rent-A-Car founder Jack C. Taylor. The rental car titan's fortune is down $7 billion in a year as the travel industry slows and private-company valuations fall. The biggest gainer is banker Andrew Beal, who tripled his net worth to $4.5 billion buying up cheap loans and assets as the markets crumbled last fall.

Membership on the list was made easier as the price of admission dropped $350 million, from $1.3 billion last year to $950 million this year, paving the way for 19 new members and 19 returnees. Newcomers to the list include Marvel Entertainment chief Isaac Perlmutter, whose net worth soared to $1.55 billion after Disney agreed to buy the superhero outfit in August for $4 billion in cash and stock.

Other new members include Bloomberg LP co-founder Charles Zegar ($1 billion), mapping-software magnate Jack Dangermond ($2 billion) and trading titan Steven Schonfeld ($1 billion). Former New York lawyer and accountant Jeffry Picower makes his debut on The Forbes 400 with a net worth of $1 billion. A longtime investor with Bernard Madoff, he is likely worth billions more (Picower is alleged to have extracted billions of dollars from Madoff's fund before it collapsed).

Picower and his foundation are named in a lawsuit by the liquidator for Madoff's investment business, who is seeking to recover funds allegedly obtained through "fraudulent activity." Picower claims if he knew Madoff was a fraud he would not have transferred money into Madoff accounts.

In December 2008, the Picower Foundation shut down after losing its $1 billion endowment in Madoff's Ponzi scheme. The charity had given millions to MIT, Human Rights First and the New York Public Library. Picower made his first fortune selling medical device maker Alaris in 2004.

Among those returning is venture capitalist Michael Moritz, who rode Amazon's purchase of online shoe retailer Zappos and surging Google stock back onto the list. Divorce forced Google exec Omid Kordestani from the rankings, while R. Allen Stanford lost his billionaire status when the feds froze his assets after charging him with allegedly running an $8 billion Ponzi scheme.

Several Forbes 400 mainstays also fell off the list, including former Citigroup czar Sanford Weill, mall developer Matthew Bucksbaum and condo kingpin Jorge Perez. Six members died, including glass giant William Davidson and newspaper maven Frank Batten Sr.

The Forbes 400 is a snapshot of wealth on Sept. 10, 2009. Gap co-founder Donald Fisher, who ranks No. 296 on our list, died Sept. 27 at his home in San Francisco at age 81. Still the rich are not in as a bad of a shape as most Americans are but they have lost some of their wealth but not enough to come down to main street.

The Top 21 Richest Americans:
1. William H. Gates III
Net Worth: $50 billion
Source: Microsoft
Residence: Medina, Wash.
Age: 53

· --Despite losing $7 billion in 12 months, software man retains his title as America’s richest person for the 16th straight year.
· --Microsoft shares down 8% in past year but up 65% from March lows. He sells stock every quarter, redeploys proceeds via personal investment outfit Cascade.
· --More than 60% of fortune held outside Microsoft; investments include Four Seasons hotels, Televisa, AutoNation.
· --Stepped down from day-to-day duties at Microsoft last summer to focus on philanthropy.
· --Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation dedicated to fighting hunger, improving education in America’s high schools, developing vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. Endowment: $30 billion.
· --Penned first report on foundation’s projects in January. Touted progress made on preventing fatal childhood diseases; confessed frustration at challenge of creating an affordable, effective AIDS vaccine.
· --Ramping up personal contributions: donating $3.8 billion this year, $500 million more than in 2008.

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2. Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $40 billion
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Residence: Omaha
Age: 79

· --America’s favorite investor lost $10 billion in past 12 months on his Berkshire Hathaway shares.
· --Provided calming guidance to panic-stricken investors during financial crisis last fall; avowed enduring faith in U.S. economy, advised bargain hunting: “Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.”
· --Shrewdly invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs and $3 billion in General Electric last fall.
· --Suffered a $1.5 billion loss in first-quarter 2009; Berkshire notched $3.3 billion profit in second quarter thanks in part to bet on Goldman.
· --Son of Nebraska politician filed first tax return at age 13, claiming $35 deduction for bicycle bought for paper route.
· --Met value investor Benjamin Graham while studying economics at Columbia.
· --Took over textile firm Berkshire Hathaway 1965, used as vehicle to invest in insurance (Geico), food (Dairy Queen), utilities (MidAmerican Energy) and recently green tech (electric-car maker BYD).
· --Believed to be grooming NetJets Chief David Sokol to eventually take over Berkshire.
· --Appearing in cartoon form on upcoming online-tutor series The Secret Millionaires Club.

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3. Lawrence Ellison
Net Worth: $27 billion
Source: Oracle
Residence: Redwood City, Calif.
Age: 65

· --Oracle founder continues his spending spree: Sun Microsystems in April for $7.4 billion; deal awaiting EU approval.
· --Database giant has bought 54 companies in the past 5 years.
· --Bought BEA Systems for $8.5 billion last year; still sitting on billions in cash.
· --Stock flat in past 12 months. Sales: $23 billion. More at Forbes.com:
· --Studied physics at U. of Chicago; didn’t graduate.
· --Started Oracle 1977; took public a day before Microsoft in 1986.
· --Owns 52% stake in business software company NetSuite; shares worth $440 million.
· --Racing junkie owns 453-foot yacht Rising Sun with pal David Geffen.
· --Recently concluded court battle with Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli over terms of next America’s Cup. Race will be next February. Planned location: Ras al-Khaimah in the UAE.

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4. Christy Walton & Family
Net Worth: $21.5 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Residence: Jackson, Wyo
Age: 54

· --Cash-strapped shoppers holding up retail's royal family. Wal-Mart's low prices have lured repeat, new customers; shares down 10% since last August while S&P 500 has dropped 20%.
· --Still, family fortune down a combined $13.7 billion in 12 months.
· --Sam Walton started as J.C. Penney clerk. Opened Benjamin Franklin five-and-dime in 1945; lost lease 5 years later. Founded Bentonville, Ark. general store with brother James 1962.
· --Today Wal-Mart has $401 billion in annual sales, 2 million employees, 4,200 stores.
· --Christy is the richest of the Waltons thanks to late husband's early bet on First Solar; alternative energy stock up 510% since 2006 public offering.

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5. Jim C. Walton
Net Worth: $19.6 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Residence: Bentonville, Ark.
Age: 61

· --Cash-strapped shoppers holding up retail's royal family. Wal-Mart's low prices have lured repeat, new customers; shares down 10% since last August while S&P 500 has dropped 20%.
· --Still, family fortune down a combined $13.7 billion in 12 months.
· --Sam Walton started as J.C. Penney clerk. Opened Benjamin Franklin five-and-dime in 1945; lost lease 5 years later. Founded Bentonville, Ark. general store with brother James 1962.
· --Today Wal-Mart has $401 billion in annual sales, 2 million employees, 4,200 stores.
· --Jim runs family's Arvest bank.

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6. Alice Walton.
Net Worth: $19.3 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Residence: Fort Worth, Tex.
Age: 60

· --Cash-strapped shoppers holding up retail's royal family. Wal-Mart's low prices have lured repeat, new customers; shares down 10% since last August while S&P 500 has dropped 20%. Still, family fortune down a combined $13.7 billion in 12 months.
· --Sam Walton started as J.C. Penney clerk. Opened Benjamin Franklin five-and-dime in 1945; lost lease 5 years later. Founded Bentonville, Ark. general store with brother James 1962.
· --Today Wal-Mart has $401 billion in annual sales, 2 million employees, 4,200 stores.
· --Alice funded $100 million airport in Bentonville 1990; building Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

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7. S. Robson Walton
Net Worth: $19 billion
Source: Wal-Mart
Residence: Bentonville, Ark.
Age: 65

· --Cash-strapped shoppers holding up retail's royal family. Wal-Mart's low prices have lured repeat, new customers; shares down 10% since last August while S&P 500 has dropped 20%.
· --Still, family fortune down a combined $13.7 billion in 12 months.
· --Sam Walton started as J.C. Penney clerk. Opened Benjamin Franklin five-and-dime in 1945; lost lease 5 years later. Founded Bentonville, Ark. general store with brother James 1962.
· --Today Wal-Mart has $401 billion in annual sales, 2 million employees, 4,200 stores.
· --S. Robson has been chairman of Wal-Mart since 1992.

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8. Michael Bloomberg
Net Worth: $17.5 billion
Source: Bloomberg LP
Residence: New York City
Age: 67

· --Mayor for life? Not quite, but media mogul is running for third term as New York City’s chief executive after federal appeals court affirmed city council’s ability to allow another term.
· --Spent $37 million on campaign as of July; dropped a combined $159 million on previous runs in 2001, 2005.
· --Led challenger William Thompson by 16 points in recent polls; approval rating at 66% in August.
· --Who would want the job? City’s sales tax revenues fell 10% between January and July, and 100,000 private-sector jobs have been cut since 2008. More at Forbes.com:
· --Recently won fight with Albany, retaining control of city schools.
· --Bostonian earned engineering degree from Johns Hopkins, then Harvard M.B.A.
· --Trader at Salomon Brothers 1970s, left in 1981 with $10 million in stock.
· --Started financial information services firm Innovative Market Systems to sell financial data, analytic tools to Wall Street. Renamed Bloomberg LP 1987; added news service, magazine, cable network, radio station.
· --Owns 85% stake in firm after borrowing to buy Merrill Lynch’s 20% stake last July for $4.5 billion.
· --Said to be hiring 1,000 new workers this year.
· --Donated $235 million to charity in 2008.

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9. Charles Koch (tie)
Net Worth: $16 billion
Source: Manufacturing, energy
Residence: Wichita, Kans.
Age: 73

· --With brother David lords over Koch Industries, maker of everything from petroleum to paper towels, fertilizer to fibers.
· --Sales topped $100 billion in 2008; second-largest privately held company by revenue in the U.S.
· --Father, Fred C. Koch, developed process of turning heavy oil into gasoline.
· --Sons Charles, David, Frederick and William inherited family business after father’s death.
· --Charles and David bought out William and Frederick for $1.1 billion in 1983, igniting family feud.
· --Today company has stakes in pipelines, refineries, fertilizer, fibers and polymers, chemical technology. Employs 70,000 workers in 60 countries.
· --Bought paper and consumer products vendor Georgia-Pacific for $21 billion in 2005. Brothers each own 42%.
· --Fortune down $3 billion in a year as energy and fertilizer prices plunged.
· --Charles: chief executive.
· --Studied chemical engineering at MIT; cofounder of conservative think tank Cato Institute.
· --Concerned about government's intervention in economy: "We could be facing the greatest loss of liberty and prosperity since the 1930s."

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9. David Koch (tie)
Net Worth: $16 billion
Source: Manufacturing, energy
Residence: New York City
Age: 69

· --With brother Charles lords over Koch Industries, maker of everything from petroleum to paper towels, fertilizer to fibers.
· --Sales topped $100 billion in 2008; second-largest privately held company by revenue in the U.S.
· --Father, Fred C. Koch, developed process of turning heavy oil into gasoline. Sons Charles, David, Frederick and William inherited family business after father's death.
· --Charles and David bought out William and Frederick for $1.1 billion in 1983, igniting family feud.
· --Today company has stakes in pipelines, refineries, fertilizer, fibers and polymers, chemical technology. Employs 70,000 workers in 60 countries.
· --Bought paper and consumer products vendor Georgia-Pacific for $21 billion in 2005. Brothers each own 42%.
· --Fortune down $3 billion in a year as energy and fertilizer prices plunged.
· --David is executive vice president, chemical engineering degrees from MIT; pledged $100 million to school for cancer research in 2007, $100 million to Lincoln Center in 2008.

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11. Sergey Brin (tie)
Net Worth: $15.3 billion
Source: Google
Residence: Palo Alto, Calif.
Age: 36

· --Tech darling relatively unscathed in past year; Google fortune down $600 million in 12 months.
· --Shares of search giant up 80% since November lows.
· --Announced debut of Chrome operating system in July; rival to Windows will be available to consumers late next year.
· --Emigrated from Russia, met future partner Larry Page at Stanford; duo dropped out of computer science Ph.D. program in 1998.
· --Started Google in friend's garage.
· --K. Ram Shriram, Andy von Bechtolsheim, professor David Cheriton provided initial financing; venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital soon injected another $25 million.
· --Public 2004. Sales: $21.8 billion.
· --Recently introduced goats to Google campus lawn; animals less harmful to the environment than lawn mower.

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11. Larry Page (tie)
Net Worth: $15.3 billion
Source: Google
Residence: San Francisco
Age: 36

· --Tech darling relatively unscathed in past year; Google fortune down $500 million in 12 months.
· --Shares of search giant up 80% since November lows.
· --Announced debut of Chrome operating system in July; rival to Windows will be available to consumers late next year.
· --Raised in Michigan, met future partner Sergey Brin at Stanford; duo dropped out of computer science Ph.D. program in 1998.
· --Started Google in friend's garage.
· --K. Ram Shriram, Andy von Bechtolsheim, professor David Cheriton provided initial financing; venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital soon injected another $25 million.
· --Public 2004. Sales: $21.8 billion.
· --Recently introduced goats to Google campus lawn; animals less harmful to the environment than lawn mower.

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13. Michael Dell
Net Worth: $14.5 billion
Source: Dell
Residence: Austin, Tex.
Age: 44

· --Leader of the world’s second-largest PC maker looking to claw way back to top; recently announced plans to buy IT services outfit Perot Systems for $3.9 billion.
· --Returned 2 years ago to helm of the computer maker after PC sales shrunk, competition increased and global market share slipped.
· --Cut 9,300 jobs last year; promises to save $4 billion a year by 2011.
· --Net profits down 23% in second quarter; results beat Street expectations, sending shares up 6%. Shares down 14% in past 12 months. More at Forbes.com:
· --Started company out of U. of Texas dorm; established business with direct-sales method, took public 1988.
· --Michael & Susan Dell Foundation funds education, childhood health.

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14. Steven Ballmer
Net Worth: $13.3 billion
Source: Microsoft
Residence: Seattle, Wash.
Age: 53

· --A year after failing to buy Yahoo for $44.6 billion, Microsoft chief finally has a deal with the search engine outfit. Companies agreed in July to band together to take on Google; Microsoft will pay for search technology, Yahoo will use Bing as its default engine.
· --Investors, techies mixed on how agreement actually fights Google. Ballmer: “People haven’t figured it out.”
· --Microsoft shares down 5.4% in past year.
· --Detroit native dropped out of Stanford M.B.A. program to join Harvard classmate Bill Gates 1980 as employee number 30. Became chief exec 2000.
· --Famous for impassioned stage antics: pretended to stomp on an iPhone at recent company event after an employee snapped a picture with Apple’s offending device.

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15. George Soros
Net Worth: $13 billion
Source: Hedge funds
Residence: Westchester, N.Y.
Age: 79

· --America’s wealthiest hedge fund manager stepping up philanthropy: in August pledged $35 million to help New York State buy school supplies for 850,000 underprivileged children.
· --Also donating $100 million to recession-torn countries in central Europe.
· --Has given away $7 billion since 1979, much through his Open Society Institute.
· --Survived Nazi occupation of Hungary; procured scholarship at London School of Economics.
· --Launched Quantum Fund 1969. With Stanley Druckenmiller shorted England’s currency, “broke” British pound 1992; said to have made $1 billion in one day when Bank of England stopped fixing exchange rate. Closed fund to new investors several years later.
· --Today manages nest egg via Quantum Endowment Fund. Assets: $24 billion.
· --Came out of retirement in 2007, returned 32% on bearish bets. Fund was up 8% last year, 18% so far this year.

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16. Donald Bren
Net Worth: $12 billion
Source: Real estate
Residence: Newport Beach, Calif.
Age: 77

· --Orange County real estate tycoon’s fortune flat despite meltdown thanks to new information previously unavailable.
· --Attended U. of Washington on skiing scholarship; dropped Olympics bid after injury 1956.
· --Joined Marines, then built first house on $10,000 loan 1958.
· --Planned and developed 10,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo in California, sold to Philip Morris 1967.
· --With partners, bought 145-year-old real estate master planner and developer Irvine Co. for $337 million 1977. Became firm’s principal owner 1996.
· --Developed central Orange County, Irvine and half of Newport Beach.
· --Today owns 475 office buildings, 115 apartment communities, 41 retail centers, resort properties, new housing communities in Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley.
· --Has permanently protected more than half of 93,000-acre Irvine Ranch, creating public parks and trails.

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17. Paul Allen (tie)
Net Worth: $11.5 billion
Source: Vulcan
Residence: Mercer Island, Wash.
Age: 56

· --Microsoft cofounder’s Charter Communications filed for bankruptcy in March. Company and lenders currently battling in court over details of reorganization plan.
· --Washington State dropout founded software giant with buddy Bill Gates in 1975; left in 1983 after Hodgkin’s disease diagnosis.
· --Sold off much of his stake to lose huge sums on far-off visions through holding company, Vulcan.
· --Funding research to scan outer space for signs of intelligent alien life; Allen Institute for Brain Science creating genetic map of mouse brain.
· --Recently launched software outfit Xiant, whose product Filer helps users keep track of e-mails in Microsoft’s Outlook.
· --Owns football’s Seattle Seahawks and basketball’s Portland Trailblazers.

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17. Abigail Johnson (tie)
Net Worth: $11.5 billion
Source: Fidelity
Residence: Boston
Age: 47

· --With father, Edward C. Johnson III, controls Fidelity Investments, America’s largest mutual fund company.
· --Swelling money market assets offsetting declines in stock market funds; assets under management up 3% to $1.4 trillion since last fall.
· --Firm also runs large brokerage business, insurance outfit.
· --Abby ran her first diversified fund 1993. More at Forbes.com:
· --Ned trimmed ownership 1995, Abby inherited 24% stake; rumored to have sold some shares back to family members years later. Ownership a mystery: family owns 49% of Fidelity, but size of individual stakes unknown.
· --Abby runs personal and workplace investing division; believed by some to be father’s chosen successor. Less likely candidate: Rodger Lawson, Fidelity president, who recently dispelled persistent rumors he was leaving the firm.
· --Company has shed 7% of workforce this year.

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19. Forrest Edward Mars (tie)
Net Worth: $11 billion
Source: Mars
Residence: McLean, Va.
Age: 78

· --Cash-strapped consumers still have appetite for the Mars family's nearly recession-proof products: chocolate (Snickers, M&Ms), pet food (Pedigree).
· --Created world's largest confectionery company by acquiring gum maker Wrigley last year for $23 billion.
· --Combined sales now exceed $30 billion; much of the deal paid with debt.
· --Grandfather Frank Mars began making chocolates 1911 in his kitchen in Tacoma, Wash.
· --Father, Forrest Sr., invented M&Ms, then introduced malt-flavored nougat, the foundation of famous candy bar line that includes Milky Way, Snickers, 3 Musketeers.
· --Third generation inherited company when dad died in 1999.

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19. Jacqueline Mars (tie)
Net Worth: $11 billion
Source: Mars
Residence: Bedminster, N.J.
Age: 69

· --Cash-strapped consumers still have appetite for the Mars family's nearly recession-proof products: chocolate (Snickers, M&Ms), pet food (Pedigree).
· --Created world's largest confectionery company by acquiring gum maker Wrigley last year for $23 billion.
· --Combined sales now exceed $30 billion; much of the deal paid with debt.
· --Grandfather Frank Mars began making chocolates 1911 in his kitchen in Tacoma, Wash.
· --Father, Forrest Sr., invented M&Ms, then introduced malt-flavored nougat, the foundation of famous candy bar line that includes Milky Way, Snickers, 3 Musketeers.
· --Third generation inherited company when dad died in 1999.

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19. John Mars (tie)
Net Worth: $11 billion
Source: Mars
Residence: Arlington, Va.
Age: 73

· --Cash-strapped consumers still have appetite for the Mars family's nearly recession-proof products: chocolate (Snickers, M&Ms), pet food (Pedigree).
· --Created world's largest confectionery company by acquiring gum maker Wrigley last year for $23 billion.
· --Combined sales now exceed $30 billion; much of the deal paid with debt.
· --Grandfather Frank Mars began making chocolates 1911 in his kitchen in Tacoma, Wash.
· --Father, Forrest Sr., invented M&Ms, then introduced malt-flavored nougat, the foundation of famous candy bar line that includes Milky Way, Snickers, 3 Musketeers.
· --Third generation inherited company when dad died in 1999.

Click here to see the full list of The 400 Richest Americans

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Jay-Z - History



(Jay-Z - History)Jay-Z - History with Lyrics

LYRICS : [Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighter)
And the battle's finally won
(Gimme a lighter)
Victory (Lighters up) is finally ours
(Lighters up)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 1: Jay-Z]
In search of victory, she keeps eluding me
If only we could be together momentarily
We can make love and make history
Why won't you visit me? until she visit me
I'll be stuck with her sister, her name is defeat
She gives me agony, so much agony
She brings me so much pain, so much misery
Like missing your last shot and falling to your knees
As the crowd screams for the other team
I practice so hard for this moment, victory don't leave
I know what this means, I'm stuck in this routine
Whole new different day, same old thing
All I got is dreams, nobody else can see
Nobody else believes, nobody else but me
Where are you victory? I need you desperately
Not just for the moment, to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighters)
Victory is finally ours
(Yeah)
History (yeah), so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 2: Jay-Z]
So now I'm flirting with death, hustling like a G
While victory wasn't watching took chances repeatedly
As a teenage boy before acne, before I got proactiv I couldn't face she
I just threw on my hoodie and headed to the street
That's where I met success, we'd live together shortly
Now success is like lust, she's good to the touch
She's good for the moment but she's never enough
Everybody's had her, she's nothing like V
But success is all I got unfortunately
But I'm burning down the block hoppin' in and out of V
But something tells me that there's much more to see
Before I get killed because I can't get robbed
So before me success and death ménage
I gotta get lost, I gotta find V
We gotta be together to make history

[Chorus: Cee-lo]
Now that all the smoke is gone
(Lighters. Up.)
And the battle's finally won
(Lighter. Up.)
Victory is finally ours
(Lighters. Up.)
History, so long, so long
So long, so long

[Verse 3: Jay-Z]
Now victory is mine, it tastes so sweet
She's my trophy wife, you're coming with me
We'll have a baby who stutters repeatedly
We'll name him history, he'll repeat after me
He's my legacy, son of my hard work
Future of my past, he'll explain who I be
Rank me amongst the greats, either 1, 2, or 3
If I ain't number one then I failed you victory
Ain't in it for the fame that dies within weeks
Ain't in it for the money, can't take it when you leave
I wanna be remembered long after you grieve
Long after I'm gone, long after I breathe
I leave all I am in the hands of history
That's my last will and testimony
This is much more than a song, it's a baby shower
I've been waiting for this hour, history you ours


[Chorus: Cee-lo (2x)]
Now that all the smoke is gone
And the battle's finally won
Victory is finally ours
History, so long, so long
So long, so long



Man in the Mirror--By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

I'm gonna make a change,
for once im my life
It's gonna feel real good,
gonna make a diference
Gonna make it right...

As I, turn up the collar on
my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowing my mind
I see the kids in the streets,
with not enought to eat
Who am I to be blind?
Pretending not to see their needs

A summer disregard,a broken bottle top
And a one man soul
They follow each other on the wind ya' know
'Cause they got nowhere to go
That's why I want you to know

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
I'm asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)
(Na na na, na na na, na na, na nah)

I've been a victim of a selfish kind of love
It's time that I realize
That there are some with no home, not a nickel to loan
Could it be really me, pretending that they're not alone?

A willow deeply scarred, somebody's broken heart
And a washed-out dream
(Washed-out dream)
They follow the pattern of the wind ya' see
'Cause they got no place to be
That's why I'm starting with me
(Starting with me!)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Ooh!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Change his ways - ooh!)
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make that..
(Take a look at yourself and then make that..)
CHANGE!

I'm starting with the man in the mirror
(Man in the mirror - Oh yeah!)
I'm asking him to change his ways
(Better change!)
No message could have been any clearer
(If you wanna make the world a better place)


Michael Jackson - Man in the mirror

A Change is Gonna Come by Sam Cook






It's been a long time coming but a change is surely going to come in America and the World! I am the Future of America and the World and that is the message that each of us must carry with us each and every day that we wake up on Earth! I am the Future! You are the Future! We are the Future of America and the World! That is way every election is important--primaries, special elections and general! So vote every year and hold our politicians accountable. Hold our political officials accountable by writing them, calling them and making sure they attend meetings that we the people have. "The Time for Change is not Now but Right Now!"

"EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary" should be our anthem and should be our creed as we make the positive differences in America and the world that so many people beg for and hungry for year after year! A Change is Gonna Come, A Change is Gonna Come, that's what we must say as we say "God grants us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, Courge to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference" each morning before we go about the task of making a positive change in America and the world a reality.



Born In The U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen


“When will people realize that we are Americans first and foremost, not Democrats or Liberals, not Republicans or Conservatives, not Independents or moderates. We are Americans. Stop putting a political party above America and stop putting any politican above America. America succeeds because of us the people holding our government responsible no matter the political party because the main two political parties are to blame for the condition America is in."—Hodari P.T. Brown

America with its flaws and all is a country I am proud to have been born in. America is not perfect but my love for it is perfect. That’s why all Americans must realize that we are all Americans. In fact we are Americans first and foremost. We are not Democrats or Republicans. We are Americans.

We are not Muslims, Christians or Jews. We are Americans. Too many times we recognize our differences with others rather than appreciating our similarities which are, we are Americans. We are Americans first and foremost, no matter if we were born here or moved here legally. We are all Americans, here in this country to make not only our lives better but the lives of other Americans better so future Americans can enjoy the rights and freedoms that make us all Americans.

We are all Americans. We are one party united under God. We are Americans and this is the only political party that matters. We are Americans and this is our country so let’s make sure that we make America better than how we found it so future Americans can live prosperous and joyous lives. We are Americans and must not ever forget that.

America will prosper as long we make sure we are doing our part to make it prosper and that means we can’t put any political party or politician above America. Long live America forever and long live America’s service to the world. Together, America and the world will prosper for future generations to enjoy America and the world we live in.


Lift Every Voice and Sing


This video of the ' Negro National Anthem' was originally screened at the historic African-American Church Inaugural Ball in Washington, DC on January 18th, 2009. Many of the esteemed individuals featured in this video in attendance and we presented with the ' Keepers of the Flame' award for the monumental contributions to social justice.

This version of the song was performed by the Grace Baptist Church Cathedral Choir, conducted by Derrick James. The video was produced and donated by Ascender Communications, LLC (www.ascender-c.com) at the request of The Balm In Gilead, Inc.

If I Was President--Wyclef Jean




If I was President that is the people's anthem. We all have ideas of what we can do as President and through this website, we will fulfill our deam as a people!

Somethings Gotta Give--Big Boi ft Mary J Blige



Somethings Gotta Give people and it begins today for all us to make sure that something is us. We the people are sick and tired of suffering. Where is our piece of the Dream that so many people dead for so that we all could see today. This is our time people to change America and the world so that the Next Generation has a better future than the past we inherited.

This is our call to service. This isn't about one political candidate or one political figure. This is about us as people coming together to finally leave up to our potential and achieving the great feats that those before us have achieved. This is our moment to lead our nation and our world to greater heights.

Somethings gotta give people and it starts with us the people making it happen. We have to improve our education system in America. We have to rid the world of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. We have to go to the streets and lift a hand to another in order to decrease poverty in this world. We have to take a stand today and make sure that the future of America and the world is brighter than it has ever been.

Somethings Gotta Give and that is why we must "Remember Each One, Reach One and Teach One so America's future and the World's future continues to prosper."

John Legend - "If You're Out There"


If you're out there than you need to get started in helping to change America and the world. The world and America won't change until you get involved in making the changes you want to see in this world. If you're out there, than you must know that tomorrow started now and today started yesterday so you are behind in helping to the change. If you are tired of hatred, racism, poverty, war, and violence than the time to change it is now. If you want universal health care, world peace, democracy for every nation, equal rights, and happiness for all than you must get involved now to help the save world.

You must believe in the change that you want to see and you must act on making that change a reality. If you're out there than say it aloud and show the rest of America and the world that you're out here to make a real positive change in the communities we stay in. If you're out there than get involved now. I'm calling every women and men to join me as we take back our country right here, right now. If you're out there than the future started yersterday and we are already late so we have lots of work to do but I know we can do it together as one.

YES WE CAN



Yes We Can accomplish anything that we set out to do! We don't need charismatic or inspirational leaders to believe in ourselves and to take responsiblity for our own faith, we just need each other. Yes We Can build a new America and a new world if each of us would take action now to make the changes that we want to see in the world. Yes We Can control government by holding our political officials accountable for their actions by calling them out when they don't pass legislation that supports the common good of all man and by voting in every election to ensure that we have people representing the people locally, state wide, nationally and in the world.

Yes We Can be great! Yes We Can be what we want to be! Yes We Can be glorious in not only America but the world! Yes We can put action behind our worlds and change the world starting right here, right now! Yes We Can as Republicans, Democrats and Independents become one as we freely think about our fellow men and women and make decisions that will be in the best interest of all people and not one single group.

Yes We Can be the change that we want to see in the world! Yes We Can show the world that the youth are ready to lead! Yes We Can put our egos, our social economic statuses, our religions, our educational statuses and our skin color to the side for the better good of the world! Yes We Can be Greater than we have ever been and help others be Greater than they have ever be!

YES WE CAN and YES WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS IN ALL THAT WE DO! YES WE CAN, no matter what others may say, we will be glorious! YES WE WILL and YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!

YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN is what will be sung from every mountaintop, every riverbank, every household, every school yard, every factory, every sporting event, every college campus and even every place you can imagine in the world is where YES WE CAN, will be said and heard!

YES WE CAN!

Keep On Pushing - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions


Wake Up People! No matter who is elected to any public office, we have to “Keep On Pushing” as a people to make sure they don’t leave us in a worst state than what they inherited. We as a people have to “Keep On Pushing” to make a difference in the lives of others. We have to have an “EmPOWERment By Any Means Necessary” attitude as we continue to push our agenda that we the people deserve and want better. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change in a positive way that will benefit all Americans no matter their age, their religion or skin color. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will improve our education system, improve our military, improve our national security, improve our healthcare system and improve our economy. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to bring about change that will leave America’s future in a better than how we found it and that will leave the world’s future in a better state than we imagined we could live it. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to make life better for our neighborhoods, our families and even our quote on quote enemies. We have to “Keep On Pushing” to inspire, to uplift and to guide those who need help spiritually, physically and mentally. We have to “Keep On Pushing ” so that our lives, our future generation’s lives and the lives of those who came before us does not die in vein.

“Keep on Pushing”

A War For Your Soul

A War For Your Soul-regular version from Erisai Films on Vimeo.


The moment has come for us as a nation of people to finally wake up and realize that our destiny and fate in society has rests on our shoulders. We cannot allow the forces of evil and darkness to drain us out. We have to continue to overcome all odds in order to make the future of our nation better and the future of future generations of Americans better. We have to continue to pray to our Lord and we have to continue to uplift each other in prayer as well as take action against those things that are trying to destroy us. We have to stand up once and for all and be the future that we want to be. Now is our time and we shall do together by any means necessary.

This video was created to inspire young African-Americans not to fall prey to some of the problems they face in society. The use of the voice "Master of Darkness" represents evil, which is where the blame of all problems should be placed, and not on any one group of people. This video should not to be used to divide people (Black & White), there are images of heroes that are white in this video, and there are images of Black & White coming together with the words of Dr. King in the background. Some of the images from the past can be unsettling, but they are used to show all Americans how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. This film is being strategically placed in school systems, churches and youth orgs around the country, in hope of helping a lost generation of kids that we as Americans have forgotten. As fellow Americans we must continue to love each other, and take that love and spread it to the rest of the world. **THIS VIDEO IS NOT FOR SALE & I AM NOT ACCEPTING DONATIONS FOR THE FILM, I ONLY WANT THE MESSAGE TO REACH AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE WITHOUT ANY HIDDEN POLITICAL OR FINANCIAL AGENDA.
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Sitting On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding



"The time for sitting is over! The time for action is now! The time for hope without action is hopeless! The time for change without a positive attitude is a change that we can't believe in! We need change that is positive of helping all people! Our time for action is now, our time for hope is now, our time for change is now and our time to believe that we can do whatever we set our minds to is not now but right now!"

STAR SPANGLED BANNER


The Star-Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key

O say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming;
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave?


On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines on the stream;
'Tis the star-spangled banner; O long may it wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave,
From the terror of flight and the gloom of the grave;
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave!


O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land,
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just.
And this be our motto— "In God is our trust; "
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Black President



Our Time is not now but Right Now! Our Time has finally come to change the world not now but Right Now! If you don't believe that we can change the world than watch as we do it by changing your mind into believing in us and what we can do! This is OUR TIME RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW!

FIGHT THE POWER



We got to FIGHT THE POWER! We can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch injustices take place. We can no longer sit by and allow our right to vote to become unexercised. We must FIGHT THE POWER for our past, present and future! We can no longer allow our rights to be oppressed and our voice to become drained by the powers at be. We must FIGHT THE POWER and show that we have a lot to say that needs to be heard by the mainstream media. We must FIGHT THE POWER and live up to our potential as dynamic, unbelievable and phenomenal people.


We must not believe the hype but we must become the hype. We are not Harriett Tubman, Marcus Garvey, MLK, Malcolm X, Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson, W.E.B. DuBois, the Black Panther Party, SNCC, or any other activists but we are the fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunties, and relatives of those who came before us to pave the way for us to FIGHT THE POWER! We are not next Generation of leaders who will not be honored and praised until they die but that’s the fight we accept. We are not fighting the power for glory or fame but we are fighting the power for just causes that most men and women will not understand until years or decades later.


We are fighting for our sisters and brothers in Darfur, Georgia, Iraq, Iran, China and Mexico. We are speaking for those who are poor and have no food or water. We are fighting for those who are sick and dying. We are fighting for universal healthcare across the world and human rights for all people. We are fighting for rich and poor! We must FIGHT THE POWER no matter how hard and tough the road may be. We must FIGHT THE POWER for a better today and an even greater tomorrow!


FIGHT THE POWER!

PEOPLE GET READY


“People Get Ready” our time is coming! We have come too far to turn back now. Our train is coming and it is coming in waves. “People Get Ready”, we don’t need a ticket but we need faith and the Lord will help guide us as we take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” our moment is now and we are ready to see the change we want in America and the world. All we got to do is have faith, hope and prosperity. “People Get Ready” to face your fears. “People Get Ready” to face your demons and the challenges of yesterday because today and tomorrow we will conquer & be victorious. “People Get Ready” a change is coming and our actions will make sure that change is a real positive change that lasts forever.


“People Get Ready” because we have had enough of just talking but now is our time to show action. “People Get Ready” to take back America and the world. “People Get Ready” to take back our communities and to make our streets safer and schools better. “People Get Ready” to make all our dreams come true. “People Get Ready” to see a better present for everyone and a better future for future generations. “People Get Ready” to live up to your potential and to help others live up to their own potential. “People Get Ready” to move past hatred, bigotry, racism and sexism. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the dreams of those who came before us and those who will come after us.


“People Get Ready” as we make our actions speak louder than our words. “People Get Ready” to make words mean something again as we put action to back up our rhetoric. “People Get Ready” as we embark on a new journey that will re-write America’s history as well as the world’s history. “People Get Ready” as we make the lives of others better and the lives of future generations better. “People Get Ready” because all we need is faith, hope and action to make this world a better place. “People Get Ready” to make a difference. “People Get Ready” to fulfill the American dream. “People Get Ready" to live out the American Dream as our founding fathers wanted us to live it. “People Get Ready” because our time is now, our moment is now and our moment in time to change America & the world is not now but right now. “People Get Ready” because a change is coming!


Alicia]
(Let me tell you now)
People get ready, there's a train comin'
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels hummin'
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord

[Lyfe]
People get ready, for a train to Jordan
Picking up passengers coast to coast
Faith is the key, open the doors and board them
There's hope for all among those loved the most

[Alicia]
There ain't no room for the hopeless sinner
Who would hurt all man kind just to save his own (believe me now)
Have pity on those whose chances grow thinner
For there's no hiding place against the kingdoms throne

[Alicia & Lyfe]
So people get ready there's a train coming
You don't need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith to hear the diesels humming,
You don't need no ticket, you just thank the lord


“PEOPLE GET READY!”

God Bless the U.S.A. by Lee Greenwood


Lee Greenwood-god bless the U.S.A