April 15, 2015

If Hillary wants our vote, she has to start being more vocal on our issues

(theGrio) Hillary can run, but she can’t hide from the issues that concern us.

On Sunday, Hillary Clinton — the former Secretary of State and First Lady — announced her candidacy for the White House.

This time around, it is reported that the idea is for voters to meet the “real Hillary,” the warm and fuzzy candidate who will meet in virtual one-on-one, small group settings and address the problems of the middle class.

State of Black America report: Blacks are treated 72 percent equal to whites

(theGrio)  The U.S. economy is rebounding, the stock market is thriving, and unemployment is down to levels not seen since the Great Recession. But how is black America doing these days? Not well.

This week, the National Urban League released its 39th annual State of Black America report. And according to the civil rights organization, there is something we should know — black America is in a state of crisis.

The report — available for the first time exclusively in E-book form — provides a detailed and sobering assessment of where African-Americans and Latinos stand with regard to injustice and inequality. Among the major topics covered are civic engagement, criminal justice, education, employment, healthcare, housing, income and poverty. The report was unveiled at a press conference Thursday in Washington, DC.

Sixteen states have more people in prison cells than college dorms

(theGrio)  College or prison: which is more important? In 16 states in the land of the free, the answer is prison.

As was reported in MetricMaps, there are 16 states where there are more bodies filling up the prisons than there are students living in college dormitories. What is truly fascinating, maybe even disturbing, is that nearly all of these 16 states are located in the South, the bottom portion of the country. You must view the map in order to appreciate the gravity of the situation.

Let than sink in for a minute. More people behind bars than in the dorms. What could it be about the South that would explain this? Could it be a tradition of slavery, racial violence and Jim Crow segregation, a legacy of criminalizing and dehumanizing people and of just not treating folks very well?

Boehner and Netanyahu Wouldn't Treat a White President Like This

(BlackCommentator.com The decision by House Speaker John Boehner to invite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress before the Israeli elections is both outrageous and offensive. 
Some have even suggested that for American lawmakers to effectively do an end run around President Obama and side with a foreign head of state - and allow that leader to speak before Congress for the sole purpose of embarrassing the president and undermining his policy regarding Iran’s nuclear program - amounts to treason. However, Boehner’s move is by no means surprising. Nevertheless, all of this should leave you wondering if they are treating the president in such a manner because he is black. And you need not wonder for too long.

Will Cuba extradite Assata Shakur to the US?

(theGrio)  What’s next for Assata Shakur? With Havana’s humanitarian release of AmericanAlan Gross — A USAID worker who had been imprisoned in Cuba for five years on accusations of espionage —President Obama announced a resumption in relations between the two countries after 53 years.

“Neither the American nor the Cuban people are well-served by a rigid policy that’s rooted in events that took place before most of us were born,” Obama said Wednesday in his White House speech. “It’s time for a new approach.”

In exchange for Gross’s release, the U.S. released the three remaining members of the “Cuban Five,”Cuban citizens who were convicted of spying in Miami in 2001. Cuba also released 53 political prisoners and a valuable U.S. spy who is a Cuban native.

The news from the president was dramatic and a game changer, thanks in part to an assist from Pope Francis, the first Latin-American pope. But now that U.S.-Cuba relations have thawed, with a road to normalization and a U.S. embassy in Havana at some point in the near future, what does that mean for Assata Shakur? Will she be extradited to the U.S. and forced back to prison?

April 14, 2015

Republicans’ letter to sabotage President Obama on Iran is a historic low

(theGrio) They pretend as if the man isn’t even in the White House.

It may not be an exaggeration to say that the 47 Republican lawmakers who wrote a letter to the Iranian government are traitors. Some believe they committed a felony under the Logan Act.

Lest you were unaware or uncertain that these folks do not recognize the president as the legitimate leader of the United States, read the letter.

In an effort to undermine President Obama’s negotiation with Iran over their nuclear program, 47 GOP Senators, most of the Republican caucus, wrote what they curiously called “An Open Letter to the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” on U.S. Senate stationery. In the letter, they purport to school Iranian government officials on the U.S. constitution.

The latest unemployment numbers are great if you’re not black

(theGrio)  Does a rising tide lift all boats, as President Obama once said? The economy is improving, and that’s a good thing, right? It depends on who you’re asking. While the economy is moving ahead, blacks are being left behind.

50 years since the march from Selma to Montgomery, we are reminded that institutional racism, racial disparities in wages and wealth, and discrimination based on color are still a harsh reality of American life. And we have a long way to go.

Would Hillary Clinton inherit Obama's black voter enthusiasm?

(CNN)  Hillary Clinton held a closed door meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday. Although the former secretary of state, senator and first lady has not declared, it is treated as a foregone conclusion that Clinton is running for president.

Likely to launch her campaign in April, Clinton is regarded as the front-runner — if not the only Democratic candidate — and the inevitable Democratic nominee.

There is an assumption that since Clinton supported Obama, the black community will now embrace her. But there are more than a few who didn't get that memo. At this stage of the game, many African-Americans may not be excited about a candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016. And after two terms of the nation's first black president, she should proceed with caution.

The image that destroys the black ‘welfare queen’ myth

The 30 people arrested in Upstate NY on food stamp fraud (WCAX)

(theGrio)  They say a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, it might be worth a thousand food stamps.

In the town of Brushton, New York, 30 people were arrested for food stamp fraud. Can you guess how many people were black? None, as thepicture below shows. All of those arrested were white. Thankfully, the myth of black folks as welfare cheats who game the system — a carefully crafted GOP invention to appeal to racists — has been exposed for what it is.

And with the 2016 presidential campaign upon us, here is an issue Republicans will be unable to exploit, or shouldn’t be able to exploit for political gain. Not that they won’t try.

President Obama puts his legacy at risk with new war in Middle East

(theGrio)  In light of the threat posed by ISIS in Syria and Iraq, President Obama wants Congress to authorize military force against the Islamist group in the Middle East. Although the president believes a 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) gives him the legal grounds to go to war on his own, he has sent Congress a draft authorization for their approval.

Mr. President, be careful what you wish for. As Colin Powell once said about the consequences of the U.S. war in Iraq, “if you break it, you own it.” Congress should not give the green light to a new, potentially endless war, nor should Obama pursue it. This would be Obama’s war, and he would own it, with a very distinct chance of jeopardizing his legacy. And these wars never turn out well for America, so why would a war against ISIS be any different?