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Black Politics

Study: Black Male Incarcerations Jumped 500% from 1986 to 2004, Resulting in a Mental Health Crisis

by Dr. Boyce Watkins A report has been released at Meharry Medical College School of Medicine about the devastating impact that mass incarceration has on our society.  The study, published in Frontiers in Psychology, is one of the most thorough examinations of the impact that mass incarceration has on the African American community.  The study’s authors argue that the billions of dollars ... Read More »

President Obama’s Showdown with Republicans Can Result in a Fiscal Cliff: What is a Fiscal Cliff Anyway?

Techyville.com Staff Writer The end of the 2012 presidential election has resulted in preparations for the next of an on-going battle between the Democratic and Republican Parties.  The casualties of all of these financial fights in Washington tend to be the American people, which is unfortunately what American politics has become.  The latest talk has involved the nation falling off a “fiscal cliff” if Congress can’t come together with the president.  No one wants to fall off a cliff. Economists are concerned that the fiscal cliff will involve Americans not having enough money to spend buying goods at the same time that cuts in government spending will cause less money to flow into American hands. A portion of the crises on this cliff include the extension of the Bush Tax Cuts. These tax cuts would not have been continued until December 31st, 2012 had President Obama not agreed with Congress to extend them to all Americans for two more years. In exchange, President Obama had Congress approve the extension of long-term unemployment benefits to Americans without jobs. That is only part one. Part two of this financial nightmare is that the Obama Administration’s two percent payroll tax cut is also set to expire this fateful New Years Eve. If you don’t think that’s bad enough, the unemployment benefits are also set to expire that same day. But wait! Its gets better! The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) is expected to cost around 26 million Americans a maximum of 3,700 dollars more per year. The final scary part of this financial saga includes Federal Cuts for FEMA and the Department of Education. The Pentagon’s budget is expected to be slashed by 55 billion dollars. The U.S. economy is expected to take a hit of 800 billion dollars in the coming year. If congress passes the bill, Obama plans on extending the tax cuts to those making less than 250 thousand dollars a year. Obama intends to stick with some of the cuts in the government’s budget, but believes that taxing the upper class more will bring in enough money to avoid some government spending cuts. Analysis of the federal budget from a little more than a decade ago reveals that the Bush Tax Cuts were the reason for the deficit we are dealing with today.  The decline in government revenues was felt to be sustainable with economists predicting sunny economic skies over the next 10 years.  What they didn’t expect was a severe financial crisis and two expensive wars.  That has made all the difference in the world for Obama and this generation.   Read More »

Judge Shuts Down Allen West’s Motion for Ballots, Voting Machines to be Impounded

Republican Rep. Allen West is most likely having a horrible weekend after a Florida judge shut down his request on Friday. West had requested that the ballots and voting machines be impounded and the denial by the judge killed his dreams of a second term as a lawmaker. Palm Beach Circuit Judge, David Crow, called West’s motion “entirely premature” and emphasized that court could not overrule election procedures because it does not have the authority to do so. Crow said, “The law is clear: The manner and method of conducting an election, the process of recounting ballots, the process of contesting an election is specifically a legislative function. Courts should not get involved in the election process.” As of Friday, Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy led West by a margin beyond what would warrant a recount. An unofficial vote tally is due to the state Saturday. Both Murphy’s campaign and the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board opposed West’s request saying that it would only cause confusion and set a very bad precedent. Gerald Richman, an attorney for Murphy said, “I think this is basically — I hate to say it — but a kind of a political stunt. There was nothing here. They had no evidence. They had no basis. There’s no basis in law and fact.” Meanwhile, Murphy has declared victory and is already on a three-day victory tour to say thank you to his supporters. Kenneth Spillias, a representative from the canvassing board, said that everything that Allen West was attempting to do was already in place. According to Spillias,  the ballots were protected and preserved and their counting was monitored, as it should have been. West filed a similar case in St. Lucie County and a court hearing has yet to be scheduled. It looks like Allen West was wrong when he said that there were “shenanigans” in the voting process. Read More »

Cornel West Says Black Prophetic Tradition Has Reawakened for Obama’s Second Term

Professor Cornel West and Tavis Smiley are planning to hold a symposium on poverty on January 17th, right before President Obama’s inauguration.  During an interview with Democracy Now, West says that the black prophetic tradition has reawakened, and that there is a growing resurgence of the black prophetic tradition that doesn’t look at politics solely through the lens of race or in the interests of the black elite.. President Obama’s victory in the last election was met with intense celebration, particularly in the African American community.  Dr. West says that Obama’s presidency offers a unique opportunity for black Americans to have the political voice they are seeking. AMY GOODMAN:  This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. And our guests are Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. Professor Cornel West now teaches Union Theological Seminary in New York. He taught, before that, at Princeton University and, before that, at Harvard University. Tavis Smiley broadcasts on PBS and NPR. He has several shows, The Tavis Smiley Show, and he does a show together with Dr. Cornel West called Smiley & West, as well as his own NPR show, The Tavis Smiley Show. I’m Amy Goodman. And we’re talking about poverty. Now, this should not be revolutionary to talk about poverty. It shouldn’t be radical at all to deal with a critical issue in this country. But if you look at the last months of this political campaign, of the presidential campaign, poverty was almost mentioned—well, almost not at all. Yet, a new report is warning global inequality has reached a 20-year high. According to the group Save the Children, poverty, that had previously been concentrated in the world’s lowest-income countries, is now on the rise in middle-income countries, which account for 70 percent of the world’s poor. Let’s talk about that, Dr. West. CORNEL WEST:  Well, it’s sad. In America, we are 34 out of 35 of the top industrial countries when it comes to child poverty, ahead only of Romania. AMY GOODMAN:  Thirty-four of 35. CORNEL WEST:  Thirty-four of 35. Twenty-two percent of our precious children of all colors live in poverty in the richest nation in the history of the world. That’s obscene and profane. No serious talk about it. Now, in the black community, it’s nearly 40 percent; in red, 40 percent; brown, nearly 40 percent of the children. AMY GOODMAN:  How have we come to this point? CORNEL WEST:  Shameful silence on behalf of leaders who do not want to tell the truth about the suffering of poor people. TAVIS SMILEY:  On top of that, corporate greed. CORNEL WEST:  Yes, yes. TAVIS SMILEY:  On top of that, political indifference. CORNEL WEST:  That’s right. READ MORE  Read More »

President Obama Cries During Speech Thanking Supporters

You don’t see the president crying very often, but there’s a first time for every time.  President Obama broke down during a speech to supporters, crying as he reminisced about his days as a community organizer. President Obama was crying. Not choked up, not somewhat emotional. He was  crying.  It was a startling sight — after years of watching the man known for his coolness under pressure, for his analytic detachment — to see him suddenly wearing his heart on his rolled up sleeve. What happened? What made the president — “No Drama Obama,” “President Spock” — suddenly crack? It happened Wednesday, the day after he won re-election, when he stood before the staff at his Chicago campaign headquarters to thank them for the work that helped make his victory possible. “What you guys have done,” he said, “means that the work that I’m doing is important.” His right index finger quickly wiped away tears as they streamed down his cheek. Perhaps Obama felt emotionally overpowered by what awaits him even before he finishes his first term. The country is careering  toward  the “fiscal cliff,” which really is the wrong term. It’s more a fiscal suicide (fiscacide?) if the government irresponsibly pushes the country into a self-inflicted recession, complete with a renewed rise in unemployment. Without an agreement with Republicans, Americans, including Obama supporters weeping with him in that room, will face higher taxes and across-the-board spending cuts. To see the video of Obama’s speech, click here   Read More »

President Obama Appears as Napoleon on the Cover of Newsweek

Good or bad?  The president has been depicted as Napoleon on the latest issue of Newsweek.   The president’s latest victory is sure to give him a lot of magazine covers, and the Republicans certainly thought the election was going to be his Waterloo.  But whether they like it or not, the president is going to be here another four years, so they might as well get used to it. Newsweek has  depicted  Barack Obama with a rainbow-flag halo before. Now, in the wake of the president’s reelection, the magazine is going in another direction: Obama as … Napoleon? The soon-to-be-extinct print edition of Newsweek unveiled its latest cover on Thursday. It shows Obama looking, in the words of the magazine’s Tumblr, “very Napoleonic” in 18th-century military garb. Headline? “The Obama Conquest.” Obama’s supporters could remember the famed Napoleonic Code, which marked a great leap forward in civil law. His detractors could remember all of that invading and emperor business, along with an exile to Elba and defeats by the British. Below, see Newsweek’s cover, followed by a portion of the famed Jacques-Louis David portrait of Mr. Bonaparte. READ MORE  Read More »

Google Searches For “Renounce Citizenship” Skyrocket After President Obama’s Reelection

Republicans aren’t reacting well to President Obama’s reelection. One woman famously tweeted that she was moving to Australia because of their president – “he is a Christian”, wrote the woman. As a matter of fact, Australia has a prime minister, not a president, and she is an atheist. But one hopes no one alerts the conservative to these facts before she packs ... Read More »

Rush Limbaugh’s Advice to Republicans: Stay White

After President Obama’s reelection, numbers crunchers came to one unanimous conclusion – the numbers just weren’t there for Romney. The country is becoming less white, and in order to win presidential elections, Republicans need to reach out to black and brown people. Most striking of all is that Democrats have won the popular vote in 5 out of 6 of ... Read More »

Big Obama Foe Mitch McConnell May Face Ashley Judd as a Challenger

One of the thorns in the side of President Barack Obama was Senator Mitch McConnell.  Back in 2010, McConnell famously said that “My number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.” McConnell has since engaged in a campaign of “stop” and “no” to do everything in his power to keep President Obama from getting anything done in Congress.  The only ones who suffered were the Republican Party and the rest of us, since President Obama just won re-election. McConnell’s days may be numbered, since his party is angry at their second loss in the race for the White House.  The party is questioning its old tactics and looking for solutions.  Even worse for McConnell is that a well-respected celebrity is thinking about taking his place. Singer Ashley Judd’s name has been thrown into the mix as one of those who might consider challenging McConnell for his seat in the Senate. This would be a serious threat to McConnell, even in a red state.   Judd is extremely popular and has strong roots in the state of Kentucky. Judd has not confirmed her interest in running, but Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) listed her as a possible challenger. “If you had an Ashley Judd-McConnell race, I think it would be as high profile a race as Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown,” Yarmuth  said  in an interview with the  Courier-Journal.  Judd has been politically active for a very long time.  She was a delegate at the Democratic National Convention and even did a campaign ad for President Barack Obama.   McConnell is not going to be an easy opponent, however.  He has $7 million in the bank for his re-election bid.  The race would shake up the Senate in the event that Judd was able to pull of a victory. Read More »