Friday, April 28, 2017

National Commentary

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
Former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, the man whose lofty ratings were responsible for the growth of the network, is no longer on the air.  Revelations that $13 million had been paid, either by O’Reilly or the network, to women who said they had been sexually harassed repelled millions, some of whom protested outside Fox headquarters and took to the airwaves with their complaints.

But it is unlikely that protests or complaints moved Fox to separate themselves from O’Reilly.  Instead, it is most likely that the network severed connection with O’Reilly because advertisers did not want to be associated with a program anchored by a man who seemed to find nothing wrong with sexual harassment.

As of last week, more than 52 advertisers did not want to be connected with the O’Reilly program.  They included Advil, Mercedes, BMW, Jenny Craig, Hyundai, Allstate, Lexus and H&R Block.  The O’Reilly program was the highest revenue-generator in cable television, bringing in about $120 million in the first nine months of 2016.  The O’Reilly Factor dominated the 8 p.m. weekday hour, drawing more viewers than any other cable network.

Don’t cry for Bill O’Reilly.  He is leaving Fox News with “tens of millions of dollars” in a settlement.  Be concerned, instead, for the women who have had to put up with his odious behavior.  Be concerned for those who didn’t come forward to get paid because they were afraid for their jobs, or because they feared they would not be believed.  Be concerned for the Black woman that O’Reilly allegedly called “Hot Chocolate,” grunted when he saw her, and behaved so badly that she was frightened for her safety.

Why didn’t she leave?  She valued her job.  She didn’t know if she could find another one.   An African-American woman who heads a household and had, on average, just $4400 in liquid assets, (compared to $20,519 for white women).  With such a tiny cushion, an African-American is likely to think twice before airing a sexual harassment complaint.

African-American women are also less likely to be believed than white women are, at least partly because of the way the world views Black women.  So, right on, to the sister who called the Fox Hot Line to report her harassment.  She, and many of the other Black women who have protested the culture of sexism at Fox, need to have champions that are as vocal as the champions Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson had.

Indeed, one might look at the fact that Megyn Kelley pushed Tamron Hall off her perch as the only Black woman anchor at the Today show as evidence of how much more highly valued white women are than Black women.

What do we learn from this, though?  We learn, especially, that advertisers are controversy-averse.  They don’t want to be associated with an accused sexual harasser, especially when the accusations are persistent and are backed up with numerous settlements to women who have experienced harassment.  Advertisers saw their brand tarnished, and their consumer base angered, by O’Reilly’s behavior.

Too many of the companies that abandoned the O’Reilly show have increasing numbers of women in senior management, in advertising, and on their boards.  While Roger Ailes, now himself dismissed from Fox for his harassing behavior, excused O’Reilly’s antics with “Bill will be Bill,” increasing numbers of women (and some men) in charge find Bill’s behavior not only odious but also illegal.   Increased sensitivity to issues of sexual harassment helped make it clear that O’Reilly’s behavior was simply unacceptable.

What would it take for advertisers to draw the line on racial discrimination and/or discrimination against African-American women?  Racial discrimination does not cause the same repugnance that sex discrimination does.  Indeed, companies that engage in widespread race discrimination might even get high fives from consumers who might like to practice racism themselves.

The only way that African-Americans could spark an advertiser exodus would be to either work with partners who would put their feet down strongly, or boycotting the goods and services that a discriminating company provided.

But there are few African-Americans who would emulate those who boycotted busses for 381 days in Montgomery during 1955 and 1956.  It seems unlikely that a critical mass of African-Americans would inconvenience themselves to punish a discriminator.

African-American leaders would do well to study the O’Reilly case and to ask what it would take for us to send as strong a signal about race discrimination as the O’Reilly dismissal did about sexual harassment.  Many thought O’Reilly was invincible, but he wasn’t.  Race discrimination isn’t invincible, either.  We just have to decide what we want to do about it!

Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author, and Founder of Economic Education. Her podcast, “It’s Personal with Dr. J” is available on iTunes. Her latest book “Are We Better Off: Race, Obama and public policy is available via amazon.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
Among other non-academic activities in our contemporary society, all public school children are introduced to vital, emergency life saving drills.  Fire drills, lock-down drills, shelter-in-place drills and tornado drills are all common to our students and welcomed by parents and concerned family members. 

If asked, most students can easily explain the purpose and intricacies of assuming the “Duck and Tuck” position.  First one locates a position away from glass and loose debris that can be dangerously propelled by high winds.  Next, facing a wall or other solid, protective edifice, one assumes a vertical fetal position with his/her head lowered as far as possible between his/her knees.  The “Duck and Tuck” position is employed in every public school tornado drill.

Although now used almost exclusively for tornadoes, I’m old enough to remember when the primary purpose of the “Duck and Tuck” was as a drill for students to prepare for nuclear attack.  Then, the world had fresh recollections of the destruction and devastation of such attacks. 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not just historic events. I have been both places and memory of the horrors are still real. I can appreciate the serious and solemn approach world leaders, specifically American leaders, took in navigating through world events with the goal of maintaining peace.  Even Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, principle physicist in developing the atomic bomb, understood the monster he unleashed upon humanity.  With clarity of thought he stated, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

I shudder to think that this depiction could have an element of truth, yet I believe that in reality our fate would be far worse.

Truth could be stranger than fiction.  Specifically, through its development and threat of deployment of nuclear weapons, North Korea holds South Korea, Japan, China, and, possibly, parts of the United States hostage to the fear of nuclear holocaust.  A U.S. Navy Aircraft Carrier Battle Group now sails, more or less, toward the Sea of Japan on course to achieve what only God knows. 

Conflicts in mid-eastern Asia serve as a potential tipping-point for widening conventional warfare that may force us to a combative point-of-no-return.  Terrorists turn the hatred and xenophobia that is running rampant in the United States into recruitment propaganda for an internal and external assault upon our social stability.

As I write this, a megalomaniacal US President has taken great enjoyment in upsetting any logical order in international relations.  He, seemingly, derives genuine pleasure in offending long-standing allies and courting the allegiance and camaraderie of nations that we have long numbered among our historic adversaries.  We now reject the values that have made our nation great and embrace the hatred and divisiveness that weaken us spiritually and morally.

Years ago, Five-Star General Omar Bradley predicted our current circumstance.  He said, “Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.  We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.  We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount.”

The threat to our species is critical.  Our only choice is to heed the call for active political involvement.  Through our engagement we must demand that our current impractical and unrealistic leadership plot a more reasoned course to the future.

Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.  (202) 678-6788.  www.nationalcongressbw.org

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
“No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the laws under which, as good citizens, we must live.  Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.”
– U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black

A federal court this week dealt a blow to Texas’ efforts to disenfranchise voters of color. Texas’ draconian 2011 voter identification law has been struck down for the fifth time.

Among the attorneys representing the plaintiffs, Texas State Conference of NAACP Branches and the Mexican American Legislative Caucus of the Texas House of Representatives, are the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, who have worked tirelessly to defend voting rights across the nation.

The United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas determined the law intentionally discriminates against Black and Latino voters.  The determination raises the possibility that Texas voting procedures could be placed under federal supervision, as it was from the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act until the Supreme Court’s disastrous 2013 gutting of the Act with its Shelby v. Holder decision.

The court found that when the Texas legislature considered the bill, the lawmakers were aware that only two people, out of 20 million votes cast in the previous decade, had been convicted of in-person voter fraud. Other, more common forms of voter fraud were not addressed by the bill.  

The law was easily the most restrictive in the nation with respect to permitted identification. A Texas state handgun license – which may be legally obtained by some non-U.S. citizens — is a permissible form of identification under the law, while a federal or state government ID, nor a student ID, are not. 

Monday was the second time Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos had ruled on the law.  At the 2014 trial, experts testified to Texas shameful history of suppressing minority voters, from reconstruction up to the present day. Between 1895 and 1944, Texas permitted all-white primary elections. From 1905 to 1970, Texas voters were prohibited from taking people with them to the polls to assist them in reading and interpreting the ballot. Between 1902 and 1966, Texas required a poll tax.

And even though the Voting Rights Act of 1965 put Texas’ voting procedures under federal preclearance, Texas continued discriminatory practices. When the voting age was lowered to 18 in 1971, Waller County – home to historically Black Prairie View A&M University – prohibited students from voting unless they or their families owned property in the county.

A court struck down the requirement in 1979, but Waller County continued attempting to enforce the law as recently as 2003. Waller County violated the preclearance requirement during Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign for President, improperly rejecting voter registrations and placing limits on the number of new registrations.

The witnesses also noted that in every redistricting cycle since 1970, Texas has been found to have violated the Voting Rights Act with racially gerrymandered districts.

“Minorities continue to have to overcome fear and intimidation when they vote,” Judge Ramos wrote in her 2014 decision. “Reverend Johnson testified that there are still Anglos at the polls who demand that minority voters identify themselves, telling them that if they have ever gone to jail, they will go to prison if they vote. Additionally, there are poll watchers who dress in law enforcement-style clothing for an intimidating effect.”

While we join other civil rights groups in celebrating the court’s decision, Texas persistence in continuing its long history of racial discrimination against voters is disheartening. We call on Texas’ leadership to heed the blindingly clear message that voter suppression is unacceptable in 21st Century America, and move forward with a commitment to equality and opportunity.

By Marc H. Morial

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
Word origins can “shed light” on the experiences of a people and explain much of what they’ve endured.  Many older African-Americans explain the origin of the term “honkie” as it relates to the activity of white men driving through African-American communities “honking” the horns of their automobiles in an attempt to solicit sex from “willing” African-American women. 

In targeting any woman who appealed to them, these “honkies” demonstrated their beliefs about their right to victimize and denigrate ANY Black woman because of their perception that Black women were inferior and of inherently low moral character.

In truth, this behavior was/is merely an extension of the “roaming the slave quarter” and slave master mentality.  Whether subliminally or consciously, these same attitudes fuel the actions of whites today who, without cause or for some specious reason, choose to denigrate African-American women.

Most recently, we have seen this behavior in the attempted public humiliation of Representative Maxine Waters, American Urban Radio correspondent, April Ryan, and, once again, Dr. Susan Rice, former National Security Advisor to President Obama.

In this context, we must stand against Fox Anchor, Bill O’Reilly, for his comment about Representative Waters, stating, “I didn’t hear a word she said.  I was looking at the James Brown wig.  If we have a picture of James, it’s the same wig.” 

We saw and must stand against Presidential Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, who erroneously, as though she were a child, admonished April to, “Stop shaking your head!”  We must stand against, and reject, the Trump Administration’s feeble attempt to justify Trump’s, now infamous, “wiretap” tweet by falsely accusing Dr. Rice of being the source of the “leaks.”

Saying we stand against the abusive and oppressive nature of our society is not enough.  As Black women, we must resolve to throw down the gauntlet in support of each other.  This is especially true when we see a sister unfairly targeted for abuse because her politics do not comport with those who do not act in the best interest of our community and issues of importance to us. 

We must not be distracted by the irrelevant, superfluous comments of those who oppose us.  Our unified 94% vote in the most recent Presidential election demonstrates our understanding of this principle.

We must commit to tell our stories and continue our unity.  We’re the successors of fearless, strong and effective Black women like Shirley Chisholm, Barbara Jordan, Dr. C. Delores Tucker, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Fannie Lou Hamer, Diane Nash, Ella Baker, Amelia Boynton, Septima Clark, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Harriett Tubman and so many more who stood up for us despite their own personal peril.  If you do not know these women and their efforts I encourage you to learn.

We must also stand with Black women of all ages who may not be in the news on a daily basis, but who march in the footsteps of other great Black women leaders.

We must learn about and commit to supporting the efforts of women like Akousa Ali, President of the NAACP-DC, Ophelia Averitt, the wonder woman whose name is connected with anything of value occurring in Ohio, Dr. Lezli Baskerville who spearheads better funding for HBCU’s, Amy Billingsley and Dr. Julienne Richardson who record/create an accurate account of OUR history through The HistoryMakers, and Oprah Winfrey, the largest donor to the African-American Museum.

History has shown that those who actively oppress are only concerned with identifying, discrediting and retarding the efforts of those who achieve progressive results.  Without past and current accomplishments of many courageous Black women, our community would, most certainly, have floundered.

The sisters I have mentioned, and others like them, are the ones with whom we must stand and salute.

Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.  202/678-6788.  www.nationalcongressbw.org.

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
On April 4, the 49th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, thousands joined Fight for $15 and the Movement for Black Lives with marches in Memphis and in cities across the country in the fight for decent pay and racial justice.

These demonstrations were more than a fitting tribute to Dr. King; they are taking up his unfinished agenda.

Dr. King saw the Civil Rights Movement as a symphony with many movements: First came the victory that ended apartheid in America. Then came the victory to guarantee voting rights. In his last days, Dr. King was working feverishly on the third movement, the movement for economic justice, organizing a Poor People’s Campaign that would bring together people from across lines of race, religion and region to demand economic justice. King understood that what he called the “giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism” had to be challenged to make America better.

In the midst of this, Dr. King came to Memphis, summoned by the courage and sacrifice of Black sanitation workers striking for decent pay, job safety, respect and a union. They protested both the racial discrimination they faced on the job and the absence of decent wages and conditions. They demanded a union so that they could stand together and bargain collectively.

Dr. King responded to their call because he preached in his last speech that we need to develop a “dangerous unselfishness.” The question, he said, is not, “If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?” The question is “If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?”

Now, 49 years later, people are stirring once more. Fight for $15 began five years ago when fast food workers in New York City went on strike demanding a $15 per hour minimum wage and a union. They were dismissed as “unrealistic,” even by Democrats.

But the movement spread across the country, and now more than 22 million Americans have benefited from an increase in minimum wages, and some 10 million on are on a path toward $15 an hour as city ordinances step up wages. A $15 minimum wage is written into the Democratic Party platform, and it is being written into law in more and more cities across the country.

The Movement for Black Lives arose in protest against our criminal injustice system, in which Blacks suffer both mass incarceration and too often violence from those who are supposed to protect them. In stunning nonviolent protests across the country, the movement has propelled the cause of reforming the police and discriminatory sentencing practices.

In the last address of his life in Memphis, Dr. King noted that he was happy that the Almighty had allowed him to live in the second half of the 20th century. “Now that’s a strange statement to make,” he told those gathered, “because the world is all messed up. … Trouble is in the land. Confusion all around. … But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.”

Dr. King was excited because people were on the move, a revolution in human values was beginning. He knew the road was long and hard. He knew there would be setbacks and reverses. But he believed that if “we will but make the right choice, we will be able to speed up the day, all over America … when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Today, this is a troubled nation. Inequality has reached obscene extremes. Economic and racial injustice still blights lives and stamps out hope. Yet today thousands of people are making the “right choice,” and are on the move, sacrificing to make America a better nation. Surely Dr. King smiles down upon them.

By Jesse Jackson

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
If I had to speculate about a common thread that weaves its way through the lives of most of my friends and acquaintances, I’d have to say that filtering through the blizzard of information that inundates us daily is our greatest challenge. 

“Trump tweeted this …” or “Congress ignored that …” or “Korea launched that …” or “No agreement could be reached …” are among the many and varied refrains frequently heard from the media.  The truth is that when considering the daily deluge of information it’s difficult to prioritize or determine which issues are worthy of our attention and concern. So is life in the era of Trump.

I am, however, certain of two things: 1. There’re some issues far more important than Trump and the conduct of his minions; and, 2. There’s nothing more important than the care and nurturing of our children – our next generation.  In the midst of all the confusion surrounding Presidential conduct, Cabinet selections, Health Care and the myriad of events that cascade upon us, we must stop and ask ourselves an immediate question, “What is happening to our children and where have they gone?”

Far from being isolated to Washington DC, my current location, Black children and other children of color are going missing at a rate that can only be described as alarming.  Admittedly, from my perspective, to have any child missing is an alarming event, but the Metro DC area has been plagued with a surge of missing children in the past weeks and months.  This is unacceptable under any circumstance, but the lack of attention and coverage by the media makes this bad matter even worse.

The lack of media focus on matters critical to communities of color is hardly new.  I surmise that to be the reason I have not seen appropriate media attention, commensurate with my concern about African-American and Latina girls/young women, given their growing number of missing.

Of course, many will, and have already argued that many of those labeled as missing are merely runaways.  Most certainly, there is data that gives partial support to this reasoning, but we cannot ere with a false assurance that this explanation is supportive of the fact of a general trend.  Few overtly condone slavery of any kind, sex slavery specifically or human trafficking in any form, but by failing to acknowledge their possibility we do poor respective communities and any possible victims incalculable harm.

As long as we cannot overlook the rapid growth of a sex slavery/human trafficking industry in our nation, we cannot afford to deny the possibility that any of our missing children have fallen victim to this burgeoning criminal enterprise.  What we do know is:

• The U.S. State Department estimates that 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year.
• Of the estimated $150 Billion world-wide income from human trafficking, an estimated $99 B is attributable world-wide to sex trafficking and, arguably, $9.5 B are earned in the US annually.
• 80 percent of human trafficking involves sexual exploitation; 19 percent involves forced labor.
• 80 percent of those trafficked are female and half are children.
• Trafficking is characterized by exploitation that includes forced prostitution, involuntary servitude and the creation of pornography or commercial sexual exploitation.
• The US Department of Health & Human Services estimates that between 240,000 and 325,000 American children and youth are at risk for sex trafficking each year.
• The average age of teens entering the US sex trade is 12 – 14.

The facts related to sex slavery and human trafficking are far too wide-ranging to discuss in a brief column, but the mere chance that any of our children could be trapped in that cycle of despair requires our thorough investigation of the circumstances of those who go missing.

Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.  202/678-6788.  www.nationalcongressbw.org

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members.”
– Mahatma Ghandi

Some people look at a budget proposal and see numbers.  At the National Urban League, we look at a budget proposal and see people.

The Trump Administration’s preliminary federal budget proposal – the so-called “skinny budget” –  is a massive transfer of resources from vital services and fundamental social protections into unrequested and unnecessary military spending.  It represents a conscious decision to abandon children and other vulnerable Americans to sickness, homelessness, illiteracy, ignorance and unemployment, while fattening the coffers of defense contractors.

The Americans who will be abandoned are not simply numbers on a ledger. They are the thousands of Americans aged 55 and older who have found stable, sustaining jobs through the National Urban League’s Urban Seniors Jobs Program.  They are the college-age youths, at risk or entangled in the judicial system, whose lives have been transformed by the education, mentoring, counseling and job training they found in the National Urban League’s Urban Youth Empowerment Program.

They are the tens of thousands of families who have realized the American Dream of homeownership via the National Urban League’s housing counseling and foreclosure prevention programs.
They are the middle school and high school students getting a new glimpse of their own educational and professional potential from the role models in National Urban League’s Project Ready Mentor program.

The budget proposal doesn’t cut dollars. It cuts jobs. It cuts educations. It cuts homeownership. It cuts the only hope of a better life for many young people and families.

We have called the “skinny budget” a jobs killer and a dreams killer, but it also would be a literal killer. Without the vital assistance of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program, people will surely die in the winter cold. Those who can’t afford to pay their heating bills resort to unsafe methods like a kitchen stove or a kerosene heater, leaving them vulnerable to death by toxic fumes or house fires.

Abandoning biomedical research means more Americans will die of otherwise curable diseases. Gutting the Environmental Protection Agency means smog, ozone, and mercury will trigger worsening asthma attacks, especially in young children, along with heart and lung ailments, and lead to premature death. Abandoning Violence Against Women programs mean more women will be stalked, harassed, battered and, yes, killed.

The “skinny budget” is an act of crippling cruelty, a short-sighted plunder of resources to benefit the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

Stopping this disaster is a matter of national urgency, one to which the National Urban League and the Urban League Movement is wholeheartedly committed. We urge all Americans to let their Congressional representatives know  we won’t stand by while American ideals are abandoned.

By Marc H. Morial

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
An admitted white supremacist, who stabbed to death a Black man with a sword in order to discourage white women from dating Black men, has been arrested and charged with murder and a hate crime.
James Jackson, 28, of Baltimore is charged with murdering 66-year-old Timothy Caughman on March 20 in New York City,  said Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., District Attorney for Manhattan.
Jackson is charged with first-degree murder as an act of terrorism, second-degree murder as a hate crime, second-degree murder as a crime of terrorism and three counts of criminal possession of a weapon, Vance said.
Caughman was collecting plastic bottles for recycling when Jackson repeatedly plunged an 18-inch blade into his back and chest.  Bleeding profusely, Caughman stumbled into the Midtown South Precinct station where paramedics rushed him to Bellevue Hospital. He died in the hospital.
More than 24 hours later, Jackson walked into the Times Square police station where he confessed to killing Caughman.
Jackson had ridden a bus from Baltimore to New York City and he prowled the streets for three days, hunting for Black men to kill.
“James Jackson wanted to kill Black men, planned to kill Black men, and then did kill a Black man,” Vance said. “He chose Midtown as his crime scene because Manhattan is the media capital of the world, and a place where people of different races live together and love one another.”
In an interview with the tabloid New York Daily News, Jackson said he wished he would have killed ‘a young thug’ or a ‘successful older Black man with blondes…people you see in Midtown.’
Jackson told the Daily News reporters that Caughman’s murder was a ‘practice run.’ He planned to kill other Black men to discourage white women from forming romantic relationships with Black men, asserting that interracial relationships were taboo when it is between a Black man and a white woman.
Jackson, an Army veteran, is now locked up in Rikers Island, a prison with a large population of Black-male inmates and a substantial number of Black- male staff members.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is married to a Black woman, called Jackson’s alleged crimes “domestic racist terrorism.”

By Frederick H. Lowe

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
The “budget lite” that our 45th President submitted is described as a “budget blueprint to make America Great Again.”  Submitted in the third week of March, it trumpets draconian cuts in many federal programs, eliminating some that provide important services, including the African Development Foundation, the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Inter-American Foundation, the US Trade and Development Agency, the Legal Services Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and many others.  The cuts are so unfathomable, and so extremely severe, that even some of 45’s allies are biting back.

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, whose daughter Sarah Huckabee Sanders is Deputy White House Press Secretary, has written an op-ed in the Washington Post that argues that the National Endowment for the Arts, which he describes as “just 0.004 percent of the federal budget,” is important.  He says that students who participate in the arts have higher grade point averages and standardized test scores.

He reminds us that NEA grants went to about 16,000 communities, and that some young people only have access to music and the arts because NEA is in their communities.  He also highlights NEA as an “economic driver” because the arts create jobs.

Says Huckabee, “the arts are a $730 billion industry, representing 4.2 percent of our gross domestic product which equals more than transportation, tourism, or agriculture.”  Huckabee, ever the conservative, says he doesn’t want his tax money to fund things that don’t work, but he notes that the $147.9 million allocated to NEA in 2016 is not wasted money.

It seems strange that just 60 days into the game, 45’s head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), former Congressman Mike Mulvaey (R-SC) has deemed many programs “ineffective,” “inefficient,” or ‘lacking evidence that it is being effectively implemented.”  What evaluation has been done?  Who has made the determination of inefficiency?  Based on these blanket assertions, some Republicans have indicated that the OMB determination is not right.

Former Senator Bob Dole (R-KS), a Republican Party stalwart, says it is short-sighted that 45 would eliminate the McGovern-Dole International Fund for Education program, a program that provides school meals for children in 40 of the world’s most impoverished nations.

Dole told the Washington Post that eliminating the program would “have a disastrous effect on the planet’s most vulnerable children.”  He called the program, which he developed with across the aisle Senator George McGovern (D-SD) as “one of the proudest achievements of his lifetime.”  Our 45th President is so eager to provide $54 billion in extra money for the Department of Defense that he is willing to throw a party stalwart’s legacy under the bus.

Meanwhile, the Secret Service has asked for $60 million more this year to protect 45 and his family.  45 was a frequent critic of President Obama’s golfing, a pastime that he engages in frequently himself.  And he can’t seem to find any golf courses in the DC area so he’s back to Mar-a-Largo, where taxpayers spend $3 million every time the President goes to his private resort.  Mr. Trump is not trying to tighten the belt he wears; he is only trying to tighten the nation’s.

Because Melania Trump likes to keep distance between herself and her husband, taxpayers are paying about $150,000 a day to protect her and their son, Baron, in New York.  The same man who said that the Obamas should consider living in the White House “a privilege” has not convinced his wife of the privilege that has been bestowed upon her.  Instead, we taxpayers will spend $4.5 million a month protecting Melania and Baron in New York.  New Yorkers will spend even more, and they have not been reimbursed for the cost paid when New York police officers are diverted to deal with the Trump family baby-sitting project.

The most egregious part of the scam that allows 45’s family to be protected is the fact that his wildcat sons, traveling the world to generate profit for the Trump brand, are protected by Secret Service with our tax dollars.  When they go to Dubai to celebrate a new Trump golf course, which is a profit generating opportunity for the Trump empire, taxpayers cover the cost of their “protection.”  If the Trump empire gained a profit from that trip, shouldn’t it reimburse United States taxpayers for the expense of protecting these entrepreneurs?

Then there is Ivanka Trump, who says she will “voluntarily” comply with ethics rules.  Balderdash!  This woman has a West Wing office and security clearance; she has avoided nepotism laws; she not only has her father’s ear, but she has been allowed to interact with some of the most powerful people in the world.  What will she do with this portfolio when 45’s sun sets, either through impeachment or resignation?  Is she being set up as another Trump profit center?

The Trump family is playing our country as if we are their personal piggy bank.  They get security that they ordinarily wouldn’t get.  They are maximizing profits that they ordinarily wouldn’t receive.  They are playing the capitalist game as it has never been played, merging economics and politics for their benefit.  And too many of us are silently accepting this egregious exploitation.

Julianne Malveaux is an economist, author, and Founder of Economic Education. Her podcast, “It’s Personal with Dr. J” is available on iTunes https://tinyurl.com/withDrJ . Her latest book “Are We Better Off: Race, Obama and public policy is available via amazon.com For more info visit www.juliannemalveaux.com.

(TriceEdneyWire.com)
“Overall, we conclude that there is an inadequate record to determine if Judge Gorsuch has a commitment to protecting and safeguarding civil rights and, therefore, we do not believe he satisfies the second prong of our requirement for endorsement. Based upon our review of Judge Gorsuch’s record, we have concerns that he has a narrow view of rights that are protected by the Constitution, as well as a skeptical view about the importance of protecting those rights in the courtroom. In short, Judge Gorsuch’s record does not allow us to support his nomination for the Supreme Court at this time.”

– Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights, Report on the Nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court

The importance of a Supreme Court Justice’s commitment to protecting civil rights cannot be overstated. Much of the progress this nation has made on issues of equal opportunity are due to Supreme Court rulings such as Brown v. Board of Education, Loving v. Virginia, Obergefell v. Hodges and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.

The Supreme Court has also regressed on civil rights, as with Shelby County v. Holder, which struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act and led to a proliferation of racially-motivated voter suppression laws throughout the nation.

More than most other communities, the future of African-Americans’ rights and opportunities hang on the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice. That’s why the National Urban League cannot support the nomination of Judge Neill Grosuch.

Beyond the level of scholarship and judicial experience required of a Justice, which Judge Gorsuch does appear to meet, a Supreme Court Justice must have demonstrated what the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights called “a profound respect for the importance of protecting the civil rights afforded by the Constitution and the nation’s civil rights laws based on a large body of civil rights opinions or comparable information from statements and activities other than service on the bench.”

We see no such respect demonstrated by Judge Grosuch.

As I have maintained since the announcement of his nomination, what I find most troubling in the record of Judge Gorsuch is his apparent criticism of those who have sought advancement of individual rights through the courts.

He consistently has ruled against the rights of workers and consumers who were harmed by employers and corporations, and against disabled students pursuing their right to a meaningful education.

In fact, even as he sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, the Supreme Court overwhelmingly rejected his opinion that a school district complies with the law so long as they provide educational benefits that “must merely be ‘more than de minimis.’” In other words, according to Judge Gorsuch, a school district can meet its obligation to disabled students with little more than nothing.

Of course, no serious discussion of Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation can ignore the fact that his nomination was the result of an egregious dereliction of duty by the Senate, who refused to give President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, the hearing he was due. The Senate’s failure with regard to that nomination does not bode well for its ability to keep partisanship from tainting the process.

By Marc H. Morial

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