Black Politics

Why is the U.S. Deploying Troops to Over 30 African Countries?

The U.S. Army is deploying troops to 35 African nations next year, according to recent reports. America’s AFRICOM program has never been widely covered, and it seems that no one truly understood the extent of America’s interest in Africa. NPR  reports: An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., some 4,000, soldiers, will begin helping to train African militaries. The idea is to help African troops beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida. The American troops will head over in small teams over the course of the next year. According to the Associated Press, U.S. soldiers will be sent overseas in the new year to assist only with training and equipping efforts, and will not be permitted to participate in military operations. However, that directive can easily be changed. “If they want them for (military) operations, the brigade is our first sourcing solution because they’re prepared,”  Gen. David Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Army Forces Command, told the Associated Press.  “But that has to go back to the secretary of defense to get an execute order.” The Defense Intelligence Agency is also placing a number of spies on the continent, according to officials. “There are a lot of issues in Africa that are causing concern for the United States,” says Richard Downie, an Africa expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Particularly the spread of terrorism you have al-Qaida’s local franchise in Africa controlling two thirds of that country right now,” he says.              

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Conservative Larry Elder: Absentee Fathers are More of a Threat to the Black Community Than Racism

Black conservative writer and pundit Larry Elder has a message for the GOP regarding how to get more of the black vote: Stop talking to blacks like they’re stupid. In an interview with The Daily Caller,   Elder said the only hope the GOP has of reaching black voters is if they talk to blacks like adults. “Stop talking to blacks like they are children to whom the truth cannot be told,” Elder said. Elder also said that racism is no longer a major issue in this country, and that the biggest threat to the black community is absentee fathers. “To avoid poverty, UCLA public policy professor James Q. Wilson said that everyone — not just blacks — must do three things: finish high school, don’t become a parent until at least the age of twenty, and get married before having a child. Do this and you will not be poor,” Elder said. Elder then recalled a conversation with former NAACP head Kweisi Mfume, where Mfume agreed that absentee fatherhood was more of a threat to the black community than racism. “I once asked Kweisi Mfume, then the head of the NAACP the following question: ‘As between the presence of white racism and the absence of black fathers, which poses the bigger threat to the black community.’ He immediately responded, ‘The absence of black fathers.’ Screaming about racism won’t solve this problem.” Elder then goes on to explain how Republicans need to explain why Democratic policies are bad for the African-American community. “Republicans need to explain how the welfare state has undermined the formation of traditional two-parent families,” he said, “that the Democratic Party’s allegiance to teachers unions means urban parents are forced to send their children to schools the parents don’t like; that policies like minimum wage hikes destroy jobs for the unskilled; and admitting students under ‘race-based preferences’ means a higher drop-out rate for the ‘affirmative action student’; that raising taxes on the rich threatens the prosperity of all.”  

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Dr. Wilmer Leon: Over the Fiscal Cliff and Into the Social Abyss

By Dr. Wilmer J. Leon III Last week House Majority Leader Boehner (R-OH) threatened America and tried to bully President Obama with his “Plan B” vote.  He suspended negotiations and spent his time on the floor of the House slapping backs and twisting arms to get the necessary votes to pass his alternative plan.  Boehner said that after his plan passes the House, “Then, the president will have a decision to make…He (the president) can call on Senate Democrats to pass that bill, or he can be responsible for the largest tax increase in history.”  Well, the “Plan B” vote failed.  Boehner could not slap enough backs and twist enough arms; he could not control his caucus. We are closer now than ever to the fiscal cliff. The Emperor has no clothes. So, here we are at the edge of the ledge peering over the fiscal cliff into the social abyss.  After all of the hand wringing and arguments end this really comes down to conservatives being unwilling to ask those in the country who can afford to pay a little more to do so and cutting back on the defense budget in order to ensure that the working class, poor, and elderly in this country can continue to receive the support from their government that they deserve. This is not a new argument.  Conservatives have been opposed to social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Food Stamps, and others since Roosevelt introduced the “social safety net” in the 1930’s.  Conservatives are using the current fiscal crisis that started during the Bush 43 administration as the new pretext for their age-old argument.  Unfortunately, the Obama administration has done a very poor job explaining this to the American people.  They have allowed Conservatives to control the narrative by basing the discussion on what to save (tax breaks for the wealthy and he defense budget) instead of what not to cut (much needed social programs). By allowing the debate to center around the Conservatives approach the Obama administration is forced to make concessions that extract more pain from those who can least afford it.  According to FactCheck.org , “Geithner claimed that the president’s deficit reduction plan is about “strengthening Medicare, not shifting costs to seniors.” However, the president’s plan does shift some costs to seniors — mostly to higher-income beneficiaries, but also for all new beneficiaries.”  Also, President Obama has conceded making changes to Social Security that do not need to be made.  According to Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), “The people of this nation are depending upon us to be true to our word…I don’t know how many members ran on a promise not to cut Social Security.  Now, without any hard proposal to raise taxes on the rich, some are using Social Security as a carrot to get a deal.  We cannot, and we must not play with the lives of senior citizens.” What Lewis failed to mention is the impact that changes in Social Security benefits will have on the African American community.  According to the Social Security Administration , in 2010, the average annual Social Security income received by African American men 65 years and older was $13,617, compared to $11,064 for African American women. In 2010, among African Americans receiving Social Security, 28 percent of elderly married couples and 57 percent of unmarried elderly persons relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their income. Cuts in these benefits and others will send too many Americans over the fiscal cliff and into the personal social abyss. According to Lewis, “Social Security is solvent.  It is insurance citizens have paid into in good faith.  They have honored their commitment, and the federal government should honor its commitment.  We should not tolerate cuts to Social Security.  It is a sacred trust that should not be violated, not a piggybank used to fix fiscal problems.” According to Bread for the World , “We live in the world’s wealthiest nation. Yet 14.5 percent of U.S. households—nearly 49 million Americans, including 16.2 million children—struggle to put food on the table. In the United States, hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food, but rather the continued prevalence of poverty.” President Obama was sent back to Washington to fight for the programs to help those who need them the most not negotiate their demise. Congressman Lewis was right, “Democrats have made concessions in these negotiations.  We created $492 billion in Medicare savings, and in prior negotiations around the nation’s fiscal problems we offered another $300 billion in cuts.  We have done our part.  Why can’t Republicans do theirs? So here we are at the edge of the ledge peering over the fiscal cliff into the social abyss. While Boehner, Cantor (R-VA), and others engage in political kabuki theater and argue about ideological BS that will only result in those who have the most getting more and those who need the most getting less, the poor are getting poorer and the hungry get “hungryer”. Happy Holidays! © 2012 InfoWave Communications, LLC Dr. Wilmer Leon is a political scientist at Howard University and host of the nationally broadcast call in talk radio program “Inside the Issues with Wilmer Leon” on Sirius/XM channel 128. Go to www.wilmerleon.com or Dr. Leon’s Prescription @ Facebook.com or www.twitter.com/drwleon        

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Gun Rights Activists Create Petition Demanding Deportation of Piers Morgan For Viewpoints on Gun Laws

. Gun rights activists are furious with CNN host Piers Morgan for his strict viewpoints on gun control. Morgan has taken an aggressive stand for stricter gun laws in the U.S. following the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Last week, the British host called a gun advocate guest on his show an “unbelievably stupid man.” Apparently, Morgan’s remark infuriated a viewer in Texas, who took to the web to create a petition to have Morgan deported for engaging in a “ hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution ” by targeting the Second Amendment. The petition demands Morgan be deported immediately for “ exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens .” The petition was created on WhiteHouse.gov  on Dec. 21. As of Dec. 24, it has already acquired more than 34,000 signatures. Morgan is amused by the petition, taking to his Twitter account to encourage his followers to sign it. As he tracked the petition’s progress, the CNN anchor tweeted “ Bring it on .” Morgan later tweeted one question: ” If I do get deported from America for wanting fewer gun murders, are there any other countries that will have me ?” Do you believe Piers Morgan should be deported for his viewpoint on gun laws?

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39 Kenyans Killed and No International Outrage

By Victor Trammell After fierce community infighting, the body count in a region near Tana River, Kenya has climbed to 39. This happens following an early morning raid inside the region on Friday that injured 20 others. According to police and medical officials in the area, 13 children, six women, 11 men, and nine attackers make up the number of people dead. Because of the amount of people severely injured, the death toll could rise to an even larger number. Other police and emergency service workers in the area say 30 people were wounded. In addition to the human casualties, 45 houses were burned to the ground in the attacks. This tragedy occurred around 4 am in Kipau village, within Tarassa Division of Kenya. Police claimed some of the victims were hacked to death and shot. Other victims bled to death because they did not get medical attention in time. Coastal police chief Aggrey Adoli claimed preliminary reports reveal that there were serious casualties on both sides; by those who led the attack, and the community people who were attacked. “We have received reports of raids in Kipao and there are casualties on both sides. Pokomos attacked Ormas who seemed to have been aware of the pending attack and there were clashes,” Adoli said. This past August, 100 people were killed in this same region. Since then, police have worked as hard as possible to bring security to the area. Settled Pokomo farmers and semi-nomadic Orma pastoralists have fought against one another for many years. Both sides fight each other over access to grazing, farmland and water.

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President Obama Reportedly Threatened to Blame GOP for Fiscal Cliff Breakdown

Apparently, the negotiations on the fiscal cliff situation have left President Barack Obama frustrated.   It is now being reported that the president got dirty with House Speaker John Boehner, threatening to use his state of the union address to blame the breakdown in negotiations on him and his party. The Wall Street Journal  reports : Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn’t reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault. All of his occurred after Boehner was shut down by his own party when they refused to support his “Plan B” for the fiscal cliff.  This led the president to push for a smaller measure to be passed by Congress to avert the fiscal cliff, which threatens to throw the entire economy into a tailspin. “Listen, you have all heard me say this, and I have told my colleagues this. If you do the right things every day for the right reasons, the right things will happen,”  Boehner said  this week. President Obama left for Hawaii this week, right in the middle of the fiscal cliff negotiations.  But he works diligently to try to avoid the crisis, which is a set of tax increases and spending cuts that will transpire if certain budgetary objectives are not met between the two parties.   The stock market has experienced significant volatility recently as a result of the fiscal cliff issue.    

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Jesse Jackson Jr. and Wife Under Additional Scrutiny for Modified Campaign Finance Reports

The challenges just keep coming for Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr and his wife Sandi.   It is now being reported that Sandi filed amended paperwork to her ward committee’s campaign fund shortly after her husband resigned from Congress.   The transactions dated back three years, leading some to question the couple’s use  of taxpayer money.  One of the reported items includes $13,000 from her husband’s congressional account that had not been disclosed in the past. There is another $1,250 in monthly transfers to his wife’s Independent Political Organization, which she reported to be for rent.  But the 7th ward disclosure doesn’t list the purpose of the payments. There are other transactions that had been previously undisclosed, creating speculation about the legal consequences for former Congressman Jackson and his wife.  He resigned on November 22 after spending time at the Mayo Clinic in a battle with depression.  His finances are also being investigated by federal authorities. Some of the reports cite computer issues as the reason they were not reported. “To Whom It May Concern, Per our recent conversations, I am amending this file to reflect corrections made to this report reflecting contributions and disbursements that were not included in the original report due to staff transitions and computer errors,” as stated in the filings from the 7th ward. SOURCE    

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Will This Man Be the President’s New Treasury Secretary? Obama’s Diversity Problem

Some are wondering if President Barack Obama is going to tap Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express, as his new Treasury Secretary.    Bloomberg News  is reporting that the White House has reached out to Chenault to tap him as either a cabinet adviser or something else along those lines. White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew is considered to be the favorite for Treasury Secretary however, but Chenault’s appointment would be historic.  Chenault has run American Express since 2001 and has also served on President Obama’s jobs council in the past.  He is regularly consulted by the president on economic issues, but can be criticized to be a champion of America’s wealthy and not the working class. There have been grumblings that when it comes to appointing women and minorities to key positions, President Obama has been overcompensating in the wrong direction.  He is usually one of only two black faces in the room, with Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett being the other.  Some believe that this self-imposed bubble has caused the president to lose touch with the economic needs of minorities.  As a result, black unemployment is double that of white Americans, and the issue hasn’t made it to the table of presidential discussion. Even worse for the administration is the speculation behind the Obama Administration abandoning its support for Susan Rice to be chosen as Secretary of State.  Rice, a black woman, would have had a tough confirmation process, but many believe she would have made it just fine.  This, along with the president’s decision to pass over African Americans for Supreme Court nominations, has disappointed the president’s core base. All of the other individuals speculated to get key appointments from the president are white males.

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