Newswire : Diverse rural farmer and community groups praise bipartisan Senate Agriculture Committee Farm Bill

Two national organizations representing thousands of rural farmers and communities today commended the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018 released by the Senate Agriculture Committee on Friday. The Rural Coalition and National Family Farm Coalition (NFFC) applaud the Committee, Chairman Pat Roberts, and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow for the bipartisan bill. While the bill stops short of fundamental changes to provide a fair price to all producers, it contains important provisions to address the dairy crisis; protects and expands equity for tribal, historically underserved, veteran, and beginning farmers and ranchers; and preserves the integrity of nutrition programs. The bill also makes two critical updates to farm credit programs to benefit family farmers.

At a moment when dairy farmers are receiving prices as low as 30 percent below the cost of production, the Senate farm bill takes an important first step towards improving those prices for by establishing a Class 1 Fluid Milk donation program. The program will provide $5 billion per year to reimburse dairy farmers who make donations to non-profit feeding programs.

Wisconsin dairy farmer and NFFC board president Jim Goodman noted, “The inclusion of a fluid milk donation program in the Senate farm bill will help two groups of people in need: dairy farmers who have been trying to survive on milk prices that are well below cost of production and people who cannot afford to put food on the table. Many people struggling with food insecurity are working, many are children – and some are farmers themselves. The dairy donation program will provide significant relief to all of these populations.”

Two credit provisions in the Senate bill will bring further relief to farmers facing today’s credit crisis. The provisions offer new favorable loan servicing options to help farm families preserve farmland and avoid foreclosure, as well as expanding eligibility for emergency loans following a catastrophe such as a drought or flood.

“NFFC and Rural Coalition have fought for equitable farm credit since our work on the 1987 Agricultural Credit Act, which slowed the 1980s farm crisis,” said Savonala Horne, Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Black Farmers Land Loss Prevention Project, a board member of both organizations. “These critical but common sense changes to the law will keep more family farmers on the land through the challenges rural America is again facing today.”

The bill also strengthens equity for tribal farmers and food systems and invests in programs supporting the nation’s historically underserved, veteran and young farmers and ranchers. It is notable for measures to strengthen and fund programs to assist small farmers and grow local food and farm systems. Among these is the Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program (OASDVFR), which has struggled for funding since it was first authorized in 1990, and since military veteran farmers and ranchers were added in 2014. The Senate bill links OASDVFR with the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program and strengthens and provides permanent authority to both programs. Under the new bill, the programs would equally share permanent direct funding of $50 million.

“We have been working hard for decades to bring equity to the farm bill in terms of treatment for Black farmers and other farmers of color to build cooperatives and to uplift low-wealth communities. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 addresses continuing inequities and supports the quality hands-on assistance needed to make sure the 2018 farm bill reaches everyone,” said Rural Coalition Chairperson John Zippert, based in rural Alabama.

Rural Coalition and NFFC further commend Senators Roberts and Stabenow for a farm bill package that, unlike its counterpart in the House of Representatives, takes a strong bipartisan stance on ensuring food access for all communities, by retaining funding and authority for the crucial Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It also increases support for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentives program and related initiative to strengthen local food systems.

For additional commentary and analysis on the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, visit www.nffc.net and https://www.ruralco.org/.

The Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural is an alliance of farmers, farmworkers, indigenous, migrant, and working people from the United States, Mexico, Canada, and beyond working together toward a new society that values unity, hope, people, and land.

NFFC unites and strengthens the voices and actions of its diverse grassroots member organizations in 30 states to demand viable livelihoods for family farmers, safe and healthy food for everyone, and economically and environmentally sound rural communities.

Newswire : Alabama Press Association censures Goodloe Sutton and Democrat-Reporter for editorial urging revival of the Klan to “clean-up” socialism in Washington D. C.

   The Alabama Press Association (APA) Board of Directors voted Tuesday to censure Goodloe Sutton and suspend the association membership of The Democrat-Reporter. Sutton wrote an editorial last week calling for the Klan to ride again to rid the nation’s capital of socialism. The APA members have a right under the bylaws to address the question of expulsion of the newspaper at their next membership meeting.
 Goodloe Sutton, the editor and publisher of the Democrat-Reporter in Linden, Ala., wrote the editorial titled “Klan needs to ride again” that ran in the paper last week.
        “Time for the Ku Klux Klan to night ride again,” read the Feb. 14 editorial. “Democrats in the Republican Party and Democrats are plotting to raise taxes in Alabama. They do not understand how to eliminate expenses when money is needed in other areas. This socialist-communist idealogy [sic] sounds good to the ignorant, and uneducated, and the simple minded-people.”
        “Seems like the Klan would be welcome to raid the gated communities up there,” concluded Sutton. “They call them compounds now. Truly, they are the ruling class.”
        Linden, the county seat of Marengo County, is a town of about 2,100 in the western part of the state, near the Mississippi border. The newspaper, a weekly that has won awards for investigative journalism, had a reported circulation of 3,000 in 2015.
        Melissa Brown, a reporter for the Montgomery Advertiser, spoke to Sutton Monday to confirm he had written the editorial and to clarify his comments.
        “If we could get the Klan to go up there and clean out D.C., we’d all been better off,” Sutton told the Advertiser. When asked what he meant by “clean out,” Sutton suggested lynching, saying, “We’ll get the hemp ropes out, loop them over a tall limb and hang all of them.”
        When the Advertiser asked whether it was appropriate to call for the lynchings of Americans, Sutton was not swayed. “It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans,” said Sutton, whose family has owned the newspaper since 1917. “These are socialist-communists we’re talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?”
        When asked if he recognized the Ku Klux Klan as a violent and racist organization, the Advertiser reported that Sutton compared it to the NAACP. “A violent organization? Well, they didn’t kill but a few people,” Sutton said. “The Klan wasn’t violent until they needed to be.”
        `Democratic Sen. Doug Jones and Rep. Teri Sewell, whose district includes Linden, called for Sutton to step down on Monday evening.
        “OMG! What rock did this guy crawl out from under?” wrote Jones on Twitter. “This editorial is absolutely disgusting & he should resign — NOW! I have seen what happens when we stand by while people — especially those with influence — publish racist, hateful views. Words matter. Actions matter. Resign now!”
        “For the millions of people of color who have been terrorized by white supremacy, this kind of ‘editorializing’ about lynching is not a joke — it is a threat,” wrote Sewell, who is African-American. “These comments are deeply offensive and inappropriate, especially in 2019. Mr. Sutton should apologize and resign.”
        Republican Richard Shelby, Alabama’s senior U.S. senator, urged Sutton to apologize and resign in a Tuesday-morning statement to Yahoo News.
        “The rhetoric displayed by the Democrat-Reporter is disturbing, disgusting and entirely unacceptable,” said Shelby through a spokesperson. “I urge the newspaper to issue an apology and the publisher to resign from his duties. We cannot tolerate this sort of repulsive speech, particularly from our fourth estate.”
        The Democrat-Reporter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the calls for a resignation. “This is not the first racist editorial coming from Goodloe Sutton and the Democrat Reporter. He railed against the Obama Administration on a weekly basis and he has written articles and editorials that were uncomplimentary toward local Black elected officials or many years,” said John Zippert, Editor and Co-Publisher of the Greene County Democrat 
        In December, the Senate passed its first-ever anti-lynching bill, making the act a federal crime. Estimates suggest that more than 4,000 Americans, most of them African-American, were lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968.

Newswire: Angela Davis speaks In Birmingham on day she was supposed to receive award from Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Article and Photo by: Marika N. Johnson

Angela Davis speaks with Imani Perry at Birmingham program

A civil rights icon, Dr. Angela Davis spoke to a sold-out free event in Birmingham on Saturday, February 16, 2019,brought by a grassroots organization, The Birmingham Committee for Truth and Reconciliation. This event communicated her wisdom and words to a community of thousands of varied ethnicities and religious backgrounds.Her former Sunday school teacher anddriving force of the creation of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Odessa Woolfolk, was in attendance, along with Mayor Randall Woodfin and a plethora of other dignitaries. Dr. Davis encouraged activism and brought a message of hope and the trajectory of change.

She also shared her dismay and suprise about the rescinding of the Fred Shuttlesworth award from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. The Institute had originally announced that they were to honor the Birmingham, Alabama, native Angela Davis with its annual Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award but then decided that her current beliefs were not congruent with theirs. Reports all indicate the decision was largely, though not exclusively, due to pressure from Jewish individuals and organizations over Davis’s outspokenness on Palestinian human rights and vocal support for boycott, divestment, and sanctions. (BDS) against Israel. Davis told Democracy Now!on January 11, adding that the BCRI’s decision appears to be an effort to sabotage black solidarity with Palestine. “This was not primarily an assault against me as an individual; it was an assault against a whole generation of activists who have come to recognize how important internationalism is,” Davis said.

Dr. Davis ended her hour long talk in a discussion-like forum with Dr. Imani Perry, also from Birmingham and now professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, with encouragement to the youth of today and how it was the young people’s movement in Ferguson that RE-ignited the national and even INTERnational discussion on unfair policing policies. “…sometimes we HAVE to do some things differently!”

Newswire: Trump’s National Emergency Declaration called unconstitutional, ‘egregious abuse of power’

By Hazel Trice Edney


(TriceEdneyWire.com) – U. S. House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), the highest ranking African-American in the U. S. Congress, has assailed President Donald Trump’s immigration national emergency as an “egregious abuse of power” and calls on his fellow congressional members to challenge his actions.
“The President’s declaration of a manufactured national emergency in order to erect an ineffective, wasteful, and medieval wall sets a dangerous precedent,” Clyburn said in a statement. “All of us who have taken an oath to the Constitution must challenge this egregious abuse of power and uphold the checks and balances that are the foundation of our republic.”
Clyburn joins a chorus of voices expressing outrage about Trump’s action which could draw $5.7 billion of tax payer dollars for a wall that more than 58 percent of Americans say they do not want, according to a recent PRRI survey.
“This declaration has more to do with the President’s bruised ego than actually doing what is best for America. The author of ‘The Art of The Deal’ couldn’t make a deal to build a wall. This is a fake solution to a fake crisis and we must stand firm in keeping the nation focused on the real issues impacting Americans,” says Congressional Black Caucus Chair Karen Bass (D-Calif.).
The Washington Post has reported that a coalition of 16 states have filed a federal lawsuit to block Trump’s plan for a border wall. Like Clyburn, the complaint filed in the U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California, argues that Trump’s declaration of a national emergency was unconstitutional.
The lawsuit is being brought by states with Democratic governors, except Maryland’s Larry Hogan, a Republican who has challenged Trump on several major issues.
Trump is clear that he is declaring the national emergency because Congress refused to provide enough money for a border wall that he promised as a presidential candidate and also promised that Mexico would pay for it. But, then Mexico President Enrique Pena Nieto refused to pay for the wall, saying “Mexico doesn’t believe in walls.” Trump was then stuck with the unkept campaign promise and now appears desperate for a way to make good.
The 16 states suing Trump are California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia.
In a Rose Garden announcement of his intent to declare the emergency, Trump claimed he is protection the nation from caravans of people that he says are bringing drugs and crime into the U. S. through the Southern border, a claim that experts have refuted as false.
“So, we’re going to be signing today, and registering, national emergency. And it’s a great thing to do because we have an invasion of drugs, invasion of gangs, invasion of people, and it’s unacceptable,” Trump said in his Rose Garden announcement, calling the emergency a “National Security and Humanitarian Crisis”.
As Trump continues to dig in his heals, predicting an eventual win in the U. S. Supreme Court, civil rights leaders are fighting their war in the court of public opinion.
CBC Chairwoman Bass concludes, “There are families who can’t make ends meet because their wages are too low. Citizens are being denied equal access at the ballot box because of voter suppression. We have a criminal justice system that still treats Americans better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent. Black boys and girls are dying prematurely from gun violence while Black women are losing their lives during childbirth. These are just some of the real crises confronting America. Mr. President, it’s time to finally demonstrate the leadership worthy of the office you hold.”

Stories from the early Greene County Movement, Part II

Mary Dean Williams-Mack – Class of 1965


As a senior at Carver High School in 1965, Mary Dean Williams was looking forward to graduation, but the chances of marching across that state seemed very slim.  The local Civil Rights Movement had gained momentum.  

Mrs. Williams-Mack recounted the following: “Life as we knew it was quickly changing and you could feel it in the air. Yet reality hovered over us like a dark cloud. We were marching through the streets of Eutaw for freedom, but we would not march across our high school stage in our caps and gowns to receive our diplomas.”
During the Greene County student movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Eutaw. He visited with the students at First Baptist church and assured them he would give them a graduation ceremony they would never forget. And he did. On May 30, 1965, the Carver High seniors traveled to Selma for their graduation exercises held at Brown Chapel AME Church. Dr. King delivered the commencement address and presented each senior with his/her diploma. A reception followed at the Elks Club across from the Selma jail.

Jacqueline Allen – Class of 1965

Ms. Allen was a senior at Carver High School in 1965. From her account: “Students from Eutaw and surrounding schools came together to participate in demonstrations in what became the Civil Rights Movement in Greene County. We shocked the conscience of the people of Eutaw as we pushed to abolish segregation here at home. We were a part of a movement and we only wanted to have an opportunity for a better life.” As a senior, Mrs. Allen was also looking forward to graduation as one of the class salutatorians. She shared the following: “ …I was one who greatly anticipated giving my speech at the graduation ceremony. But no one anticipated what happened here. My dream of giving my graduation speech and participating in all the other events that normally take place prior to graduation came to a standstill.”

Louvella Murray – Class of 1965


In her reflections of that early Movement period, Ms. Murray states that she can so vividly recall how life was for them and events of the protest. 

“ I can close my eyes and see us in Eutaw not able to sit in the Dairy Queen; sitting in the balcony of the movies, not allowed to sit in the main section; and I can see the unthinkable cruelty directed at us united in the struggle for freedom.” She recounts how her mother, Rosie Bee Edwards hummed spirituals as she prepared sandwiches and meals for the marchers.
Many of the movement organizers stayed at her mother’s house in the projects, and when the manager found out that they were staying and working out of their house, her family had to move. Ms. Murray sadly stated that her mother was never recognized for accommodating the Civil Rights workers; her name does not appear on the plaque in from of First Baptist Church.
Additional stories of youth in the local Civil Rights Movement will continue next week.


Senator Doug Jones introduces legislation to help Alabama residents

Senator Doug Jones and Congresswoman
Terri Sewell

Senator Doug Jones has been a U. S. Senator, representing Alabama since his victory in the December 2017 Special Election. He has been working to introduce legislation, some with bi-partisan Republican sponsors to improve the life of Alabama residents.
Senator Jones sends press releases each time he introduces and passes legislation to benefit the lives of ordinary people in Alabama and across the nation. Some of his recent press releases on legislation are described below.
Jones will have to run for re-election for a full six-year term in November 2020. He is expected to have strong Republican opposition. He will be running on his record of positive and progressive legislation enacted by the Senate and Congress during his time in Washington D. C.
Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced that their bipartisan Civil Rights Cold Case Records Collection Act   was signed into law by the President on January 8, 2019. Their legislation requires the review, declassification, and release of government records related to unsolved criminal civil rights cases. Senators Jones and Cruz have led a months-long bipartisan effort to provide public access to unsolved civil rights crime documents through their legislation. Congressman Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) led the companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 
 “This moment has been years in the making. I want to thank my colleagues Senator Ted Cruz and Congressman Bobby Rush for their strong partnership throughout this effort, which started with a group of talented high school students who encountered a problem and wanted to find a solution.I am excited that their classroom idea and the solution we worked on together has now been signed into law by the President of the United States.
I also appreciate the comments the President made in his signing statement in support of our legislation and his encouragement that Congress appropriate funds for its implementation. This law sends a powerful message to those impacted by these horrific crimes and to young folks in this country who want to make a difference. I know how deeply painful these Civil Rights-era crimes remain for communities so by shedding light on these investigations I hope we can provide an opportunity for healing and closure,” said Senator Jones.
U.S. Senators Doug Jones (D-Ala.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) on January 15, 2019 re-introduced their Automotive Jobs Act legislation, which would delay President Trump’s proposed 25-percent tariff on imported cars, trucks, and auto parts. In May 2018, the President directed the U.S. Commerce Department to initiate a Section 232 investigation to determine whether imported automobiles, trucks, and parts are a threat to U.S. national security and to subsequently levy tariffs. The Commerce Department is expected to finish its investigation and make its recommendation to the President in February. The Jones-Alexander legislation would require the International Trade Commission (ITC) to conduct a comprehensive study of the well-being, health, and vitality of the United States automotive industry before tariffs could be applied.
 “Automobile tariffs are nothing but new taxes on American consumers and only serve to threaten an industry that is vital to Alabama’s economy and supports 57,000 good jobs,” said Senator Jones, who heard concerns from representatives of all four Alabama automakers during a roundtable discussion in Mobile this fall.
“As the son of a steelworker, I know well that there is a need to address the bad actors like China who’ve taken advantage of us on trade and I share the President’s goal of reviving our domestic manufacturing industry. However, that should be done in a way that doesn’t hurt other major job-creating industries and increase costs for American consumers. By having a deeper look at the state of the auto industry, an ITC study would shed light on the impacts that tariffs would have and would make it undeniably clear to the President that this industry is not a national security threat.”
 U.S. Senator Doug Jones on January 25, 2019 introduced legislation that would require federal workers who were impacted by the shutdown to receive their full back-pay plus any interest accrued. Last week, Congress passed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act of 2019, which would require that all impacted federal employees receive compensation for wages lost during the government shutdown. While this is an important step, the shutdown has forced many federal workers to incur additional costs associated with loans, late bill payments, and the other effects of missing paychecks. 
  “If the federal government can charge you interest for being late on your taxes, then it should be paying interest on late paychecks,” said Senator Doug Jones, who has also requested his paycheck be withheld until federal workers receive their back pay. “The more than 5,500 federal workers in Alabama didn’t ask for a shutdown and shouldn’t be punished for it. It’s only fair that the government pays them back with interest for putting them out of work indefinitely or forcing them to work without pay.”

Greene County Commission handled routine business at February meeting

At its regular monthly meeting on Monday, February 11, 2019, the Greene County Commission handled regular and routine business in under an hour. All Commissioners were present and there was little discussion or disagreement.
Paula Byrd presented the financial report showing that the County had $6.4 million in county banks and additional funds in a sinking fund for bond payments in the Bank of New York. She reported that most agency spending was in line with the budgets and since this is the fourth month of the 2018-19 fiscal year, which began October 1, 2018, that most agencies had spend about a third of their budgets. She presented several budget amendments to cover special cases like additional expenses for the November election.
The Commission approved a resolution supporting an increase in the state’s gasoline taxes, under review by the Alabama State Legislature, which would generate a significant increase in support and funding for county road improvement. The state gas tax has not been increased in 27 years since 1992 when it was set at 18 cents a gallon. An increase in this tax, based on fuel and road usage, would provide more funding for road improvement statewide.
The Commission approved the following items on their agenda:

• Approved the schedule of fees for securing alcohol licenses in the county. The amount of the fees is unchanged from last year.• Approved the Ad Valorem Tax Assessment for 2019, which is a routine matter that must be approved annually in the February meeting.
• Approved replacement of a $6,000 gas pump at the County Jail for use by the Sheriff’s Department. It was agreed that these funds would come out of the bingo funds since the Sheriff’s departmental budget for repairs to the jail was already committed and the pump while located at the jail is not part of the jail operations.
• Approved a contract with Terracon for maintenance and engineering services at the County Landfill.
• Approved a request from the County Engineer to employ 4 to 6 temporary workers for the Highway Department, which are included in their budget.
• Approved travel requests for staff and Commissioners to attend training related to their job performance.
The Commission also made several appointments to county boards. Darrow Jones was reappointed to the District 5 position on the Greene County Industrial Development Authority. Commissioner Cockrell requested tabling of the District 3 position.
Mary Snoddy was appointed to the District 1 position and James Williams to the District 5 position on the PARA Board.
Jimmy Hardy was selected for the District 3 position and Carolyn Branch for the District 4 position on the Greene County Housing Authority.
For the Greene County Library Board, Dan Edgar was selected for the District 2 position and Alicia Daniels Jordan for the District 5 position.
The Commission held an Executive Session to discuss legal matters and returned stating that no decisions had been reached that required action in the public meeting.

Newswire : America watching as top three Virginia officials are embroiled in controversy

Page from Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press
(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In the suddenly topsy-turvy world of Virginia politics, one fact is certain: Ralph S. Northam is still Virginia’s governor. He also has no immediate plans to resign, despite the uproar and the torrent of calls for him to quit the office some believe he is no longer fit to hold.
The sudden reversal of fortune began when Big League Politics, a conservative, Republican-leaning news and opinion blog, posted a 35-year-old yearbook photo that appears under the governor’s name showing two people, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
The blog indicated that it was tipped off to the forgotten photo published in the 1984 edition of the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook by a former classmate upset with Gov. Northam’s stance on abortion.
Struck by an avalanche of criticism, the governor initially issued an apology on Friday, Feb. 1.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment,” he stated.
He pledged to do everything he could to restore the public’s trust in him.
But at a Saturday, Feb. 2, news conference, Gov. Northam recanted the apology.
Instead, the 59-year-old genial pediatric neurosurgeon with a reedy voice urged people to trust his word that he was not one of the two people in the photo, a position that began gaining support this week as published reports began surfacing in which former classmates agreed that other students were in the photo.
Gov. Northam, who also was criticized for dressing up as a plantation owner at Halloween, said at the news conference that he had never seen the photo because he finished medical school and started a residency program with the Army Medical Corps in San Antonio, Texas, and did not purchase a copy.
The governor also said that while he blackened his cheeks with shoe polish later that year in dressing up like his favorite entertainer, Michael Jackson, to compete in and win a dance contest in San Antonio, he said he was certain the yearbook photo was not his and that he was not one of the two people pictured.
As the governor fought to clear his name, he gained unexpected relief from the controversy when Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring both came under their own clouds.
Late Sunday, Feb. 3, Lt. Gov. Fairfax, 39, suddenly became embroiled in an equally explosive controversy regarding a sexual encounter at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston with Dr. Vanessa Tyson, now a California university professor. Dr. Tyson now publicly claims Lt. Gov. Fairfax, forced her to perform oral sex after they went to his hotel room.
Fairfax, a single Columbia University law student at the time, was working on a political campaign.
By Tuesday, the lieutenant governor had displaced Gov. Northam in the headlines as he sought to defend himself. Lt. Gov. Fairfax insisted the encounter with Dr. Tyson was consensual after Big League Politics also spread the information based on an email the blog said was provided by a Richmond friend of Dr. Tyson, Adria Scharf, executive director of the Richmond Peace Education Center and wife of Dr. Thad Williamson, a University of Richmond professor who has been a top adviser to a potential gubernatorial rival of Lt. Gov. Fairfax, Mayor Levar M. Stoney. A second woman, Meredith Watson, has since accused Fairfax of sexual assault, intensifying the controversy surrounding him.
Then on Wednesday, Attorney General Herring, 57, who had urged the governor to resign in favor of Lt. Gov. Fairfax, issued an unexpected admission about his own blackface episode.
Herring said in 1980 when he was a 19-year-old college student, he and friends “dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup” and went to a party portraying “rappers they listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow.”
Herring, who immediately resigned as co-chair of the Democratic Attorney Generals Association, called his actions a product of “our ignorance and glib attitudes” and a lack of “appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others.”
He said in the years since, the memory has caused him “deep regret and shame,” though he added that the past conduct “is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the nearly 40 years since.”
The upheaval has come amid a fast-moving General Assembly session when Gov. Northam is a key player in shaping legislation and Lt. Gov. Fairfax presides over the state Senate.
Amid the new revelations, Gov. Northam was bolstered by Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox’s public statement Monday that the yearbook photo could not be considered an impeachable offense and the fact that the governor’s aides and members of his cabinet have stuck with him rather than resigning. He is soldiering on.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, for example, Gov. Northam quietly signed legislation providing a $750 million package of incentives for Amazon, which plans to open part of its East Coast headquarters in Northern Virginia.
For those who denounced the governor in the wake of the photo — particularly a wide swatch of elected Democrats near and far — it was simpler when they could take an unforgiving stance solely involving Gov. Northam.
Take the 21-member Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, which has urged the governor to resign and end the turmoil.
“We amplify our call for the governor to resign,” the Caucus stated Saturday after listening to Gov. Northam’s press conference. “He has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people. Changing his story now casts further doubt on his ability to gain that trust.”
But the Caucus is among many looking for a fallback position with the new revelations involving the two other top Democratic leaders, notably Lt. Gov. Fairfax, who is first in line to succeed to the office if Gov. Northam resigns.
The Caucus, led by Henrico Delegate Lamont Bagby, did not comment Wednesday on how their members will deal with a governor they have labeled a pariah, but whom they might have to work with. Most of the Richmond legislative delegation also didn’t comment. The only response has come from Delegate Betsy B. Carr, D-69th, who responded on her plan of action with Gov. Northam remaining in office: “As I have always done, I will support and advocate for legislation that helps my constituents and the Commonwealth. I work each and every day to improve the lives of Virginians, and I will continue to do that.”

Newswire : African leaders put rich nations on notice that days of cheap resources are ending

President of Ghana

Feb. 11, 2019 (GIN) – African leaders had a new message for foreign companies seeking the diamonds, gold, rubies and emeralds so plentiful in desperate dirt-poor countries and so pricey when polished and sold in New York, Paris and Switzerland.
 
We’re no longer a cheap date.
 
That message – in so many words – was heard again and again at this year’s posh African Mining Indaba – a glittering conference in Cape Town, South Africa, that unites investors, mining companies, governments and stakeholders from around the world with the single goal of advancing mining on the African continent.
 
To be honest, not every African leader was threatening to pull “unusual tax incentives” from contracts with western companies. But at least one president drew a line in the sand, declaring it was simply unjust that Africa, rich in minerals sought after by the world, should remain inhabited by the poorest people in the world.
 
Mining deals must be more beneficial for Africa, declared Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, as he pressed governments to end fiscal incentives traditionally used to attract investments in countries rich in resources but considered high risk.
 
“We want you here for the long-term,” he continued, addressing the mining executives from wealthy countries. “Respect the land that provides the riches and be part of the transformation.  It’s time to make Africa prosperous and allow her people to attain a dignified standard of living.”
 
“We should not have to give unusual tax and royalties incentives. And mining companies should not expect to make extraordinary profits on our continent.”

Over the past decade, a number of African governments have reviewed mining contracts, seeking to increase their share of mining profits.
 
Last year, the Democratic Republic of Congo – the world’s biggest producer of cobalt – rewrote its mining code, ignoring the objections of miners. It cancelled existing stability clauses in contracts and raised royalty rates across the board.
 
Neighboring Tanzania, once one of Africa’s best bets for international investors, also cracked down,  hitting gold miner Acacia with a $190 billion tax bill.
 
The company has disputed the claim and its parent company Barrick Gold Corp is in talks with the government.
 
But other African nations, including Angola and Ethiopia, are still seeking to use tax breaks to entice investment to their nascent mining sectors.
 
Resource nationalism was high on the agenda at the just ended 25th African Mining Indaba.
 
Long a major gold producer, Ghana is now seeking to develop its iron ore and bauxite deposits.
 
“Africa has made the world rich with our minerals, our gemstones adorn crowns and homes around the world, it is time to make Africa prosperous, and enable her people to attain a dignified standard of living. Join us in this exciting project for sustainable economic growth,” President Akufo-Addo said. w/pix of Ghana Pres. Akufo-Addo leaving for Indaba
 

Newswire : Waters and Cleaver express concerns about nomination of David Malpass to lead World Bank

Congressman Cleaver and Congresswoman Waters

WASHINGTON — Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Congressman Emanuel Cle Cleaver and er (D-MO), Chair of the Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy, issued the following statements on the nomination of David Malpass, Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs, to serve as President of the World Bank.
“It’s difficult to believe that any serious effort to find a qualified candidate with a compelling vision for the mission of the World Bank and a belief in the legitimacy of international development finance would lead to the nomination of Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass,” said Chairwoman Waters.
“His agenda for international development policy seems to begin with a reliance on unfettered private capital flows and end with a diminished role for the public sector, as the engines of global growth. He is an anti-internationalist, anti-worker market fundamentalist who understands neither the markets nor the importance of an effective public sector in helping reign in market excesses, promoting stability, and ensuring that the benefits of growth are broadly shared in society.
Moreover, if the World Bank’s board of directors ultimately votes to confirm Mr. Malpass, the Bank’s climate finance agenda, which is an increasingly essential element of global economic cooperation, will also be under threat. If the Trump Administration is allowed to embed its ideological bias into the world’s most important multilateral development institution, the institutional framework for the post-World War II global economic order will be imperiled.”
“The nomination of David Malpass as the next World Bank President should have every American deeply concerned,” said Chairman Cleaver. “His strong criticism of global organizations and disdain for multilateral institutions are antithetical to the mission of the organization of which he has been asked to lead. For nearly eighty years the World Bank—guided by American leadership—has led a development of the global economy unmatched in human history. The Bank has played a pivotal role in the reduction of global poverty, protection of workers, and fight to close the enormous income inequality gap. If Mr. Malpass cannot commit to advancing this agenda and supporting the core mission of the World Bank, then the board should reject his nomination.”
The House Financial Services Committee is responsible for conducting oversight of U.S. participation in the multilateral development banks, including the World Bank.
Financial Services Committee Democrats have consistently pushed for strong leadership at the World Bank and insisted on more transparency and disclosure of information. As a result, Committee Democrats have continuously played an active role in helping to shape the development policies that have helped make the World Bank the preeminent development institution that it has become.
In previous Congresses, Committee Members conditioned U.S. support for the Bank on the creation of the Inspection Panel — an independent accountability mechanism that could investigate allegations by citizens of the Bank’s failure to follow its own policies and procedures.
The Committee has also worked in a bipartisan manner to successfully push for debt relief for impoverished countries.

Newswire: America watching as top three Virginia officials are embroiled in controversy

 Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook


Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In the suddenly topsy-turvy world of Virginia politics, one fact is certain: Ralph S. Northam is still Virginia’s governor. He also has no immediate plans to resign, despite the uproar and the torrent of calls for him to quit the office some believe he is no longer fit to hold.
The sudden reversal of fortune began when Big League Politics, a conservative, Republican-leaning news and opinion blog, posted a 35-year-old yearbook photo that appears under the governor’s name showing two people, one in blackface and the other in a Ku Klux Klan robe and hood.
The blog indicated that it was tipped off to the forgotten photo published in the 1984 edition of the Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook by a former classmate upset with Gov. Northam’s stance on abortion.
Struck by an avalanche of criticism, the governor initially issued an apology on Friday, Feb. 1.
“I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now. This behavior is not in keeping with who I am today and the values I have fought for throughout my career in the military, in medicine and in public service. But I want to be clear, I understand how this decision shakes Virginians’ faith in that commitment,” he stated.
He pledged to do everything he could to restore the public’s trust in him.
But at a Saturday, Feb. 2, news conference, Gov. Northam recanted the apology.
Instead, the 59-year-old genial pediatric neurosurgeon with a reedy voice urged people to trust his word that he was not one of the two people in the photo, a position that began gaining support this week as published reports began surfacing in which former classmates agreed that other students were in the photo.
Gov. Northam, who also was criticized for dressing up as a plantation owner at Halloween, said at the news conference that he had never seen the photo because he finished medical school and started a residency program with the Army Medical Corps in San Antonio, Texas, and did not purchase a copy.
The governor also said that while he blackened his cheeks with shoe polish later that year in dressing up like his favorite entertainer, Michael Jackson, to compete in and win a dance contest in San Antonio, he said he was certain the yearbook photo was not his and that he was not one of the two people pictured.
As the governor fought to clear his name, he gained unexpected relief from the controversy when Lt. Gov. Justin E. Fairfax and Attorney General Mark R. Herring both came under their own clouds.
Late Sunday, Feb. 3, Lt. Gov. Fairfax, 39, suddenly became embroiled in an equally explosive controversy regarding a sexual encounter at the 2004 Democratic National Convention in Boston with Dr. Vanessa Tyson, now a California university professor. Dr. Tyson now publicly claims Lt. Gov. Fairfax, forced her to perform oral sex after they went to his hotel room.
Fairfax, a single Columbia University law student at the time, was working on a political campaign.
By Tuesday, the lieutenant governor had displaced Gov. Northam in the headlines as he sought to defend himself. Lt. Gov. Fairfax insisted the encounter with Dr. Tyson was consensual after Big League Politics also spread the information based on an email the blog said was provided by a Richmond friend of Dr. Tyson, Adria Scharf, executive director of the Richmond Peace Education Center and wife of Dr. Thad Williamson, a University of Richmond professor who has been a top adviser to a potential gubernatorial rival of Lt. Gov. Fairfax, Mayor Levar M. Stoney. A second woman, Meredith Watson, has since accused Fairfax of sexual assault, intensifying the controversy surrounding him.
Then on Wednesday, Attorney General Herring, 57, who had urged the governor to resign in favor of Lt. Gov. Fairfax, issued an unexpected admission about his own blackface episode.
Herring said in 1980 when he was a 19-year-old college student, he and friends “dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup” and went to a party portraying “rappers they listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow.”
Herring, who immediately resigned as co-chair of the Democratic Attorney Generals Association, called his actions a product of “our ignorance and glib attitudes” and a lack of “appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others.”
He said in the years since, the memory has caused him “deep regret and shame,” though he added that the past conduct “is in no way reflective of the man I have become in the nearly 40 years since.”
The upheaval has come amid a fast-moving General Assembly session when Gov. Northam is a key player in shaping legislation and Lt. Gov. Fairfax presides over the state Senate.
Amid the new revelations, Gov. Northam was bolstered by Republican House Speaker Kirk Cox’s public statement Monday that the yearbook photo could not be considered an impeachable offense and the fact that the governor’s aides and members of his cabinet have stuck with him rather than resigning. He is soldiering on.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, for example, Gov. Northam quietly signed legislation providing a $750 million package of incentives for Amazon, which plans to open part of its East Coast headquarters in Northern Virginia.
For those who denounced the governor in the wake of the photo — particularly a wide swatch of elected Democrats near and far — it was simpler when they could take an unforgiving stance solely involving Gov. Northam.
Take the 21-member Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, which has urged the governor to resign and end the turmoil.
“We amplify our call for the governor to resign,” the Caucus stated Saturday after listening to Gov. Northam’s press conference. “He has irrevocably lost the faith and trust of the people. Changing his story now casts further doubt on his ability to gain that trust.”
But the Caucus is among many looking for a fallback position with the new revelations involving the two other top Democratic leaders, notably Lt. Gov. Fairfax, who is first in line to succeed to the office if Gov. Northam resigns.
The Caucus, led by Henrico Delegate Lamont Bagby, did not comment Wednesday on how their members will deal with a governor they have labeled a pariah, but whom they might have to work with. Most of the Richmond legislative delegation also didn’t comment. The only response has come from Delegate Betsy B. Carr, D-69th, who responded on her plan of action with Gov. Northam remaining in office: “As I have always done, I will support and advocate for legislation that helps my constituents and the Commonwealth. I work each and every day to improve the lives of Virginians, and I will continue to do that.”