Newswire :Trump’s ongoing scandals mask a radical agenda that hurts everyday people

NEWS ANALYSIS

By Rev. Jesse Jackson

 (TriceEdneyWire.com) – Trump’s serial scandals — Stormy Daniels, the Russia investigation, the Paul Manafort verdict, the Cohen guilty plea, the juvenile tweets — fill the headlines. Beneath the noise, however, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are relentlessly pursuing a radical right-wing agenda that is gutting basic protections for workers, consumers and the environment. This is often characterized as Trump’s fixation on erasing everything Obama, but it goes far beyond that. Trump’s administration and Congress are not only rolling back President Obama’s policies, but weakening the advances of the Great Society, the Civil Rights Movement, and even pillars of the New Deal. Consider: Eviscerating the Voting Rights Act The Department of Justice has essentially abandoned enforcement of voting rights. The signal was sent when DOJ lawyers withdrew from the Texas voter-ID case in which the Obama Justice Department was co-counsel, arguing that the Texas act was intentionally designed to discriminate against people of color. Combined with the Supreme Court’s right-wing gang of five weakening the act in Shelby County v. Holder, there is now a virtual vacuum of voting rights enforcement. Savaging Enforcement of Civil Rights While Attorney General Jeff Sessions has dramatically weakened enforcement of basic civil rights in the Justice Department, the same is true across the government. The Labor Department disbanded its civil rights division. The Department of Education gutted the budget of its Office of Civil Rights. The Environmental Protection Agency targeted the Environmental Justice program for elimination. For immigrants, basic civil rights have been trampled — from the travel-ban orders affecting predominantly Muslim countries, upending the DACA program for the young people who were born here and know no other country, to the grotesque policy that separated children from their parents at the border. Under Sessions, the Justice Department has also essentially abandoned what was a bipartisan effort to bring about criminal justice reform, with Sessions ordering a review of the consent decrees that were addressing systematic racial discrimination and police brutality. Climate Change Denial Trump famously has announced he will pull the U.S. from the Paris Climate Agreement, while his appointees have sought to scrub any mention of climate change from government websites. EPA Director Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist, replaced the Obama administration Clean Power Plan that limited the release of greenhouse gases from power plants. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has abandoned efforts to end the 30-year ripoff of government by fossil fuel companies mining public lands. At a time when even the Pentagon recognizes climate change as real and present threat to national security, the Trump administration remains in denial. Undermining Public Education Under Betsy DeVos, the Department of Education has become the vessel of for-profit plunder. Her budgets seek to use public funds for private school vouchers. Stunningly, the DOE is pushing plans to make it harder for students to repay their college debts, ending or weakening various plans to limit the burden. Now DeVos is jettisoning rules that require for-profit colleges to provide an education that actually prepares graduates for decent jobs, opening the door for rip-offs like Trump’s own notorious university. Savaging Worker Rights In one of his first votes, Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch provided the determining vote in the Janus decision that weakened the ability of public employees to organize and bargain collectively. Trump’s Labor Department repealed the Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Rule that required companies with federal contracts to disclose and correct labor and safety violations. It also announced it would not defend Obama’s order that increased the number of employees eligible for overtime pay, effectively depriving tens of thousands of workers of a raise. Tax Cuts for the Rich, Cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security for the Rest Trump’s one main legislative victory — the Republican tax cut — lavishes its benefits on the rich and the corporations. Trump and Republicans are using the deficits they created to push for deep cuts in Medicaid, Medicare and — watch for it if they survive the November election — Social Security. Trump’s budgets call for deep cuts in virtually every program for the vulnerable, including food stamps, affordable housing and more. We can’t allow ourselves to be distracted by the circus which is the Trump presidency. Under the chaos, Trump’s appointees and the Republican Congress are pursuing a radical and very destructive agenda. These measures are incredibly unpopular, or would be if Americans knew about them. They are done by executive order, by administrative rulings, by judicial decisions, by budget cuts. Their effect is masked by the good economy. But they are incredibly destructive, systematically making America more unequal, undermining equal justice under law and elevating corporate rights over worker rights. They must be exposed and stopped. The elections this fall will be the first chance to curb this misrule.

Newswire: NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson issued the following statement on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to U.S. Supreme Court

Derrick Johnson, NAACP “This Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U. S. Supreme Court should not go forward. The President is in personal legal jeopardy and only a fraction of Kavanaugh’s record has been produced. To proceed now threatens the legitimacy of the Senate’s constitutional review and the Supreme Court itself. What we do know of Judge Kavanaugh’s civil rights record is deeply troubling. His views on voting rights, affirmative action, equal employment, fair housing, and criminal justice could shut the courthouse door on justice for a generation. Senators need to fight this nomination with everything they have. There is simply too much at stake.” · Read findings on Kavanaugh’s Civil Rights record · Learn more about NAACP’s fight for fair judicial appointments · Watch President Johnson speak out on the importance of fair courts Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas at www.naacp.org.

Newswire:  Andrew Gillum shocks the political world and set stage for three Black U. S. governors

 By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire

 Andrew Gillum

Wildly outspent by a billionaire challenger and the daughter of a former Florida Governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, 39, shocked the political establishment to win the gubernatorial primary in Florida on August 28. Gillum defeated former Congresswoman Gwen Graham 34-31 percent to win the Democratic contamination. He will now face pro-Trump Congressman Ron DeSantis in the general election on November 6. Gillum’s victory caught many political observers by surprise. The 39-year old Mayor was polling in fourth place less than a month ago. But recent polls showed an upward movement to second place. Gillum and his supporters completed that upward movement by coming in first on election night. Gillum’s victory sets up a historic opportunity for there to be three sitting African American Governors in the U.S. for the first time in history. Former Georgia lawmaker Stacey Abrams is the Democratic nominee or Governor of Georgia after a decisive July 24 primary victory. Abrams would be the first African American woman to be a Governor from any state should she win. Former NAACP President Ben Jealous is running for Governor in Maryland against moderate incumbent Republican Larry Hogan. There are also four Black candidates for Lt. Governor running this year for the first time in history. Gillum’s progressive victory was cemented in part by a late visit by Sen. Bernie Sanders in support of his candidacy. Though he did not win, the Independent Vermont U.S. Senator who ran for President in 2016, focused on bread and butter issues many Americans identified with as he ran against Hillary Clinton. Sanders’ issue focus included income inequality, money in politics, corporate greed and raising the minimum wage. Despite the Democratic Party’s support of the moderate blue dog style of former U.S. Representative Gwen Graham, voters had other ideas and a progressive shift has likely been spurred by Donald Trump’s policies. As his campaign began, Gillum was attacked by his opponent Congressman Ron DeSantis who suggested voting for Gilliam “would monkey-up Florida’s economy with socialist ideas”. DeSantis was questioned for launching a racially motivated “dog-whistle campaign” which he denied. Racist robo-calls attributed to an alt-right group in Idaho have also appeared in the Florida election. Gillum, a graduate of Florida A&M University, is viewed as the continuation of a progressive surge and a shift away from the establishment also seen in the victory shocking victory of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez over longtime Conrgressman Joe Crowley in a primary for his New York House seat. Though her victory is not necessarily a symptom of a widespread trend, it is a signal that a political wave in the opposite direction of Donald Trump is on the horizon in less than 70 days on November 6, 2018.

ANSC to hold Fall Convention in Montgomery on September 22; increasing Black voter turnout in November is major focus

The Alabama New South Coalition will be holding its Fall Convention on Saturday, September 22, 2018 at the Maggie Street Center in Montgomery, Alabama. The theme of the convention is “Lift every vote; Make our voices sing!” “Our goal is to increase Black voter registration, education, organization and enthusiasm leading up to the November 6 General Election. We want to see a statewide turnout that exceeds the turnout in last December’s Special Election for Doug Jones to elect progressive candidates around the state,” said John Zippert, President of ANSC. “We are encouraging all Alabama residents who will turn 18 before the November election to register to vote by October 22, 2018 which is the deadline – 15 days before the election. We are especially interested in helping the thousands of Alabama residents, who previously were incarcerated for a crime, unless it involves ‘moral turpitude’ to restore their voting rights before the October deadline,” said Shelley Fearson, ANSC Staff Secretary.

Alabama passed a law in 2017, which lists 43 categories of crimes that involve moral turpitude, so it is easier to determine if a previously incarcerated person can get their voting rights restored said Fearson. “ If you need help in registering or restoring your rights contact our ANSC State Office in Montgomery, Alabama at 334-262- 0933,” stated Ferason. “We will have workshops at our Fall Convention to discuss all aspects of the voting process and encouraging more people to participate in grassroots canvasing and campaigning. Speakers include people who were elected to office and others who participated in last year’s ‘Vote-or-Die Campaign’ to gain insight into how best to increase turnout,” said Zippert. ANSC will recess its Fall Convention, to hold a candidate endorsement session by the Alabama New South Alliance (ANSA) its sister organization that endorses candidates. The ANSA will endorse candidates for statewide, Congressional and multi-district positions. Candidates for statewide office have been invited to attend this statewide screening. Statewide Democratic candidates like Walt Maddox for Governor, Will Boyd for Lieutenant Governor, Joe Siegelman for Attorney General, Heather Milam for Secretary of State, Miranda K. Joseph for State Auditor, Bob Vance Jr. for Alabama State Supreme Court Chief Justice and others will be present to seek endorsement for the November 6 General Election. “We must be awoke, excited and involved in this election. We need to canvass our neighborhoods and communities. We need to put the word out about this election on social media. We must talk to our relatives, friends and neighbors about the importance of turning out to vote in this critical election. Every vote counts and every vote should be cast in November,” said Faya Rose Toure, Selma activist and Vote-or-Die campaign leader.

Newswire : Land fever sweeps Southern Africa, pressing governments to act

 

Aug. 27, 2018 (GIN) – The day of reckoning is arriving in Southern Africa for the hundreds of thousands of Blacks whose lands were taken forcibly by white settlers – a crime that goes unpunished despite promises for land reform year after year. Pressure is growing on governments to take action and return ancestral lands to their original owners. But government leaders have been cautiously backing away from some of their early militant calls for justice. ‘It’s true whites stole the land, but they also have Namibian blood’, said Namibian President Hage Geingob. “Whites are also Namibian,” he said diplomatically at a Heroes Day commemoration in northern Namibia. Geingob was the country’s first prime minister and was one of the drafters of the Namibian constitution which protected property rights of people who owned land prior to independence. At the time of independence, nearly all commercial land was owned by the white minority, which constituted less than 0.5 percent of the population, while 70 percent of the population lived on what is now classified as communal land. More than 17 million hectares of land are still in the hands of whites in that country. This week, President Geingob admitted that national efforts to restore lands to black farmers over the years had flopped. In response, he is planning a “national land conference” from Oct 1 to 5 to discuss ways to speed up “peaceful and sustainable solutions to the challenges of inequality, landlessness and the pains of genocide – whether voluntary or uncompensated.” Meanwhile, in South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa pledged to speed up land reform in order to undo “a grave historical injustice” against the black majority during colonialism and the apartheid era. It was a reference to the 1913 Natives Land Act that reserved almost 93 percent of the land for the white minority and legalized the historical dispossession of the African population. At a gathering of more than 350 farmers this week on a game farm in Bela-Bela‚ Limpopo‚ to discuss land reform, they were caught by surprise by a tweet from President Donald Trump reading: “‘South African Government is now seizing land from white farmers’,” It infuriated many of the attendees for its misinformation. “I’m worried about the politicians and the politics in our country if they don’t get (land reform) right,” said Andre Smith, 49, who grows pecans and other crops on 100 acres in the Northern Cape. “We don’t love Donald Trump and his outspokenness.”

Newswire : Trump World finally crumbling

By Hazel Trice Edney (TriceEdneyWire.com) – For the first time since his election, the world of President Donald Trump appears to be actually crumbling. In one day, Thursday, August 21, his former lawyer Michael Cohen confessed that he conspired “in coordination” with Trump to pay two women to keep quiet about their affairs with Trump. In the plea, entered at the Manhattan federal courthouse, said Trump directed him to break the law in order to influence the 2016 election. Cohen says he did so, “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office,” meaning Donald Trump. Cohen also pled guilty to violating eight laws pertaining to bank, tax evasion and campaign finance, including the payoffs of the women. Meanwhile, in a Northern Virginia federal courthouse, after a jury deliberated the fourth day, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight of 18 charges against him. The eight convictions include filing five false tax returns; not disclosing a foreign bank account; and two instances of bank fraud in order to obtain a combined 4.4 million in loans from two banks. The jury was deadlocked on 10 other counts. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III, prosecutors and defense lawyers will discuss the possibility of a retrial on those counts. The Manafort verdict was announced just before the Cohen plea deal. At Trice Edney deadline, the double news blasts, along with analysis, had only begun to permeate the airwaves and social media. The news stories appear to represent the undoing of an administration that has heretofore seemed immune to political damage regardless of how egregious the offense – including Trump’s constant racial insults and dog whistles to White supremacists. Two Trump confidants, Elliot Weisselberg, CFO of the Trump Organization and Foundation, and George Pecker, Publisher of the Enquirer Magazine have been granted immunity by prosecutors in exchange for their testimony in the cases against Trump in the Southern District of New York. So far, Trump’s responses to the announcements of the two felony convictions have leaned toward his reframe that the investigation by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has still not turned up any Russian collusion, the basis for the original investigation. But the investigation now continues as members of Congress watch closely. As mid-term elections draw closer, a Democratic majority in the House could spell certain impeachment for the President if there is sufficient evidence of criminal activity on his part. Trump said, “This is a witch hunt that ends in disgrace.”

Newswire :  Senator John McCain called Obama’s election ‘a triumph for the country’

By Frederick H. Lowe

 

 McCain and Obama

 Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com (TriceEdneyWire.com) – In his 2008 concession speech to Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain declared that Obama’s election as president was ‘a triumph for the country.’ Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, along with predecessor President George W. Bush, will deliver the eulogies at McCain’s funeral. McCain, a Republican senator from Arizona and Vietnam War veteran, died Saturday night from brain cancer. He will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda. McCain was 81. “Senator Obama has achieved a great thing for himself and for his country. I applaud him for it and offer him my sincere sympathy that his beloved grandmother did not live to see this day. Though our faith assures us she is at rest in the presence of her creator and so very proud of the good man she helped raise,” McCain said. McCain also noted how much the country has changed with Obama’s election. ”A century ago, President Theodore Roosevelt’s invitation of Booker T Washington to dine at the White House was taken as an outrage in many quarters. America today is a world away from the cruel and frightful bigotry of that time. There is no better evidence of this than the election of an African-American to the presidency of the United States,” he said. At the end of speech, McCain wished Obama well. “I wish Godspeed to the man who was my former opponent and will be my president. And I call on all Americans, as I have often in this campaign, to not despair of our present difficulties, but to believe, always, in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here.” McCain also made a great gesture when he took a microphone from a woman at a 2008 town hall meeting. The woman said she could not trust Obama because he was an Arab. To a chorus of boos, McCain corrected her, calling Obama a decent family man and citizen who he happens to disagree with on certain issues. He told the audience there was nothing frightening about Obama. The boos became cheers. And now Obama will eulogize his former colleague in the Senate, his former presidential rival, lauding John McCain as a man of commitment and courage, a steward of America’s highest ideals. McCain also served as a prisoner of war when his fighter jet was shot down over Hanoi during the Vietnam War. He was a prisoner for five years refusing to leave before fellow prisoners. He was tortured as a prisoner but became a strong opponent of torture when it was employed by U. S. military and intelligence forces during the Iraq war.

Newswire :  National prison strike sheds light on harsh inmate treatment

By Barrington M. Salmon

 

 

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – In an extraordinary display of defiance, inmates from penal institutions in 17 states and Canada have gone on strike to protest treatment by prison guards and rejection of a system they condemn as brutal and abusive. Prison reform advocates say the 19-day strike is the biggest of its type in history. Among the protestors’ 10 demands are that they be treated like human beings, that the arbitrary use of force and punitive measures by guards be scaled back and that prison officials put in place measures that will give them a greater say in affairs that concern and affect them. The strike began on August 21 and is slated to end on Sept 9. The 19 days of peaceful protest was organized largely by prisoners themselves, said a spokesman for Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS), steered by an abolitionist coalition that includes Jailhouse Lawyers Speak, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), the Fire Inside Collective, Millions for Prisoners and the Free Alabama Movement. JLS activists began preparing the action in April after prison officials in South Carolina put rival gangs in the same dormitory which ignited an outbreak of violence leaving seven inmates dead. Representatives of the largely Black population of striking prisoners said inmates are refusing to work in prison buildings, kitchens, laundries and on prison grounds. Palestinian inmates have expressed solidarity and about 300 prisoners in Nova Scotia, Canada also joined the strike. Nicole Porter, director of Advocacy for The Sentencing Project, called the strike unprecedented, saying that it’s a cry by inmates to be seen and heard. “We’ve had strikes and prison actions in the past, but the scale of this strike is new. We’ve seen incidents of in-prison activism and organized acts of resistance but we’re in new territory for this,” she said. “This strike is important to look at because it is a response to clashes in a South Carolina prison and severely inhumane conditions there and elsewhere. We need to recognize that people don’t lose humanity when they’re behind bars. Resistance is a part of US history. They carry history and the history of activism. It’s important for officials to listen to these activists and seriously consider some of their recommendations.” A JLS statement released before the strike, said, “Fundamentally, it’s a human rights issue… Prisoners understand they are being treated as animals. Prisons in America are a warzone. Every day prisoners are harmed due to conditions of confinement. For some of us, it’s as if we are already dead, so what do we have to lose?” Bill Fletcher, Jr., a veteran labor union organizer, said the strike highlights the problem of widespread abuses in the prison system that generally go unnoticed by the larger society, which he believes harbors a deep-seated bias against people behind bars. “I think this is really quite phenomenal,” he said of the strike action. “The problem is that it has gotten so little attention but the attention it has gotten is significant. The larger problem is that we are a society that believes in vengeance, not justice. People’s general position is, ‘Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time.’” Fletcher adds, “A related issue is that the prisoners, because they are for the most part people of color, they are denied their human rights and humanity.” Fletcher, a talk show host, author and racial justice, labor and international activist, said there has been a slow erosion of prisoner rights since the 1970s and the emergence of the belief that rehabilitation is a waste of time and unfair to those who aren’t in prison. In an August 22 press conference, media representatives of the striking inmates said information about the scope of the strike would trickle in slowly. “We want to note that although there aren’t widespread reports of actions coming out of prisons, people need to understand that the tactics being used in this strike are not always visible,” said Jared Ware a freelance journalist who was asked to be part of team that coordinated with the press. “Prisoners are boycotting commissaries, they are engaging in hunger strikes which can take days for the state to acknowledge, and they will be engaging in sit-ins and work strikes which are not always reported to the outside. As we saw in 2016, Departments of Corrections are not reliable sources of information for these actions and will deny them and seek to repress those who are engaged in them.” Ware said, “We have spoken with family members who have suggested that cell phone lines may be jammed at multiple prisons in South Carolina. And New Mexico had a statewide lockdown yesterday. The departments of corrections in this country are working overtime to try and prevent strike action and to try and prevent word from getting out about actions that are taking place.” Although the United States represents one-fifth of the world’s population, 2.3 million people are incarcerated, the highest in the world. Estimates are that about 60 percent of that population is African-American or Latino. Those numbers could ratchet up with Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at the behest of President Donald Trump, relaunching the failed War on Drugs and giving state attorneys and law enforcement the green light to crack down on criminal suspects even for non-violent crimes, critics believe. The Prison-Industrial Complex is a sprawling entity that relies heavily on inmates’ labor to produce goods and services for an assortment of companies, including major businesses and corporations such as Whole Foods, Starbucks, McDonalds, Wal Mart, Victoria’s Secret and AT&T. While it is a more than $2 billion enterprise, many inmates literally work for pennies and others labor for free, said Dr. Kim Wilson. “Exploitation of prison labor is at the heart of this strike,” said Dr. Wilson, a prison abolitionist and co-host of the podcast, ‘Beyond Prisons.’ I don’t want people to get the idea that this is an at-will job. It isn’t a system where people have a choice to work. Some people are making zero and nearer to the release date, you are expected and required to work.” Courtney Stewart, a prison reform advocate released from prison in 1985 and chair of the National Reentry Network for Returning Citizens in Washington, DC, said the prisoners who went on strike had no choice. “The thing is that these people, the corporations who make up the Prison-Industrial Complex, have been getting away with murder for a long time,” Stewart said. “They’ve been able to sustain the Prison-Industrial Complex and they have ruined generations and generations of the Black community. It’s been so devastating and we still haven’t recovered.” “Using the school-to-prison pipeline and the War on Drugs, these people are criminalizing and have imprisoned Black men, women and children. It’s profit over people and power and money in this capitalist, white-privileged society we live in. They don’t see any value in the black family or Black people. They always throw pennies when it comes to fixing the African American community. We have to address this with force and radicalism. There has to be a radical revolution in how to address this.” Dr. Wilson agreed. “I’m a prison abolitionist. I see prisons as part and parcel of problem,” said Dr. Wilson, who has two of her sons serving life sentences at Vaughn Correctional Facility in Delaware. “I don’t know how they (prison guards) sleep at night. But those individual people are part of a larger system. I’m more concerned with the system as a whole.” “We want an end to the physical places we call prisons and conditions that make it possible in our society. But we can’t do that without addressing the underlying issues of racism, anti-blackness, capitalism, gender violence, ableism and other issues deeply implicated in the broader prison system. We must take seriously the things the prisoners are saying.”

Newswire: Kofi Anon, first African to lead U. N., fought for developing World causes

 Kofi Anon

Aug. 20, 2018 (GIN) –Kofi Atta Annan, former Secretary General of the U.N., is being remembered today for his leadership over ten tumultuous years when the world faced a crisis of poverty, injustice and disease. Mr. Annan passed away this month at age 80. Secretary General Annan, a polished diplomat from Ghana and later the leader of the U.N., was considered a champion of developing world causes but encountered resistance from the U.S. “He had the bad luck to be secretary general when Washington was run by a band of ideologues,” Brian Urquhart, a former undersecretary general who is the dean of U.N. commentators, said in an interview with the Washington Post. Mr. Annan saw it as a top priority for the UN to focus constructively on the elimination of poverty in the developing world. He called on rich nations to provide the funding and poor nations to affect the necessary reforms to “make poverty history.” When the world’s top finance ministers voted to cancel the staggering debt of some developing countries, Annan called it “very encouraging,” adding “This will offer a chance to finally overcome the resource shortfalls that have kept so many millions of people mired in squalor.” A combination of self-assurance, self-control and unpretentiousness enabled him to make the most of opportunities to act as an honest broker. He was by nature a “diplomat’s diplomat”. But he also stuck to his guns even when powerful UN members urged retreat. A notable example was his intervention in Baghdad in 1998 to defuse a crisis over UN arms inspections in Iraq, going ahead with negotiations against strong pressure from Washington to stay away; and he spoke out against the US invasion of 2003, deploring the American failure “to solve this problem by collective decision.” Afterward, he called the invasion “illegal”, infuriating the White House. In his farewell address at the Truman Library, Annan unleashed his frustration with the U.S. “No nation can make itself secure by seeking supremacy over all others,” he said. World institutions could not accomplish much “when the US remains aloof.” Of the crises he oversaw, one in particular created deep distress. As undersecretary general for peacekeeping, he received a cable on Jan. 11, 1994, from the UN force commander in Rwanda asking for reinforcements to prevent an impending genocide in which 800,000 mostly Tutsis would be massacred. A later UN investigation found that Annan failed to act urgently on the request although the U.N. charter prohibits the U.N. from interfering in a nation’s internal affairs. “Guilt” over Rwanda has led Annan to now back military intervention to stop genocide.

Newswire:  President Truman integrated the armed forces 70 years ago

By Frederick H. Lowe

President Harry Truman

President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order 70 years ago June 26, 1948, desegregating the United States armed forces, which provided more opportunities for Black women and Black men, and my father, Mitchell Lowe, was one of them. Executive Order No.9981 stated that “it is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” My father served in the Army 21 years, retiring at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer. Black men have fought for this country since its founding. Crispus Attucks, a black man, was killed during the Boston Massacre on March 5, 1770, making him the first casualty of the American Revolution. Throughout the nation’s racist history, most blacks were assigned to segregated military units, where they were paid less than white soldiers. Black soldiers duties were mostly limited to cooking and cleaning. Some staff officers resisted Truman’s order, and the military did not become fully integrated until the Korean War (1950 to 1953) when the high number of casualties forced integration, according to the Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri. Truman’s order also established the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services. Truman had been mulling integration of the armed services since 1947 when he appointed the President’s Committee on Civil Rights. In 1948, a White House memo indicated the president was ready to do it. The National Democratic Convention that year provided the opportunity when delegates approved a plank calling for desegregation of the armed forces. During a recent presentation and discussion at the Truman Library & Museum broadcast on CSPAN’s “Book TV,” Rawn James Jr., author of “Double V: How Wars, Protest and Harry Truman, Desegregated America’s Military,” said Truman also decided to integrate the armed forces after learning about Isaac Woodard, Jr., a 26-year-old U.S. Army World War 11 veteran who had been brutally beaten by white cops. Woodard, a sergeant, who had been honorably discharged, was riding a bus from Augusta, Georgia to Winnsboro, South Carolina, on February 26, 1946, to meet his wife. When the bus stopped, Woodard asked the bus driver if he had enough time to use the bathroom. The driver of the Greyhound Bus became angry and said no. He and Woodard, who was wearing his Army uniform, got into an argument. When the bus reached Batesburg, South Carolina, Sheriff Linwood Shull and other cops dragged Woodard off the bus and repeatedly jabbed him in both eyes with their police batons, blinding him. The beating was reported to Truman by NAACP leaders in a meeting at the White House on September 19, 1946. Truman was shocked and both opened a Justice Department investigation into the case and promised to create what would become the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, the first national civil rights commission. Another factor that may have influenced Truman’s decision to integrate the armed forces occurred during World War II. Nazis dropped fliers over camps in Europe where black troops were stationed, urging them to join the German army because of the racism and violence they faced in America. “There have never been lynchings of colored men in Germany. They have always been treated decently,” said the Nazi leaflet, dropped on African-American soldiers fighting across Europe.” We now know that more than 4,400 black men, women and children were lynched in 12 Southern States between 1877 and 1950. Another German leaflet said, “Uncle Sam’s colored soldiers are just cannon fodder!” Black men fought for Germany during World War II, but they were native born Germans.