Omarosa Manigault named Trump’s Director of African-American Outreach

Written By Charise Frazier

Omirosa Manigualt and Donald Trump

Omarosa Manigualt with Donald Trump at the convention

Former Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault breathed new life into her career by announcing her title as Donald Trump’s campaign director of African-American outreach on live television.

Manigault, a longtime supporter of the presumptive GOP nominee, and former Vice Chair of the National Diversity Coalition For Trump, solidified her position during a Monday interview with MSNBC‘s Craig Melvin.
Melvin pressed Manigault on the recent polling in Ohio and her home state of Pennsylvania, where Trump’s support from African-Americans stands at an astounding zero percent. “I just spent an amazing weekend with African-Americans for Trump, about 300 of them,” she said.
“I’m just wondering who they called because those numbers would be flawed according to the people who have come out to support, had an amazing faith-based service yet with African-Americans who support Donald Trump, had an amazing reception yesterday evening with African-Americans who support Trump,” she continued. “So I look at the data, but my reality is that I’m surrounded by people who to want see Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, who are African-American.”
Well, the numbers don’t lie and if Manigault has any chance of sustaining success in her position, she now knows where she can start.
Manigault pivoted to touting Trump’s economic prowess as a principle for his readiness to lead the country. Though the controversy with Trump University’s multiple lawsuits stands as a stain on Trump’s economic record, and considering the questionable tactics he’s taken with his personal finances (filing for bankruptcy, refusing to make his tax returns public when prompted), Manigault still believes her candidate has “an incredible vision for this country.”

The Black Lives Matter Movement’s political moment

By: Atlantic Monthly Magazine

 

Protestors yell as they are escorted out as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Radford

Protestors yell as they are escorted out as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign event in Radford, Virginia February 29, 2016. REUTERS/Chris Keane – RTS8ND6

Political conventions have always attracted political protests, and the history of Black organizers protesting at major party conventions stretches back decades. Mass protests led by the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, then-Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee leader and current Representative John Lewis, and activist Fannie Lou Hamer at the 1964 Democratic Convention helped bring the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into existence and hasten the exit of white conservatives from the Democratic Party.
The 1968 Democratic Convention was upended by mass protests and riots from a collection of counterculture and civil rights groups, including anti-war demonstrators, black nationalists, and the nonviolent remnants of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign. The surveillance, protests, and a political plot at this convention captured the fraught racial climate of the United States in the wake of King’s death and the ensuing riots.
With the 2016 Democratic and Republican conventions approaching, America’s mood is perhaps not quite as tense as it was after the anti-black violence of the 1964 Freedom Summer or the fear and destruction of the 1968 King riots. But it is still characterized in part by anger from black activists. Donald Trump’s campaign has fomented protests from black organizers across the country, and his racist posturing has led to renewed calls for protests against the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Black Lives Matter, a movement that dominated headlines last year in protests against police violence, has always been political, but the conventions provide much more direct avenue to electoral politics. Black activism could be a major force in shaping or disrupting the agendas of both parties.
Will the Democrats’ gathering in Philadelphia look anything like its 1964 or 1968 predecessors? Prominent activist and member of Campaign ZERO DeRay Mckesson stated that he expects organizing in Philadelphia to reflect young black disillusionment over Clinton’s candidacy and the Democratic platform, as well as the precedent set by a recent sit-in in Congress led by Lewis. Philadelphia activists affiliated with Black Lives Matter have confirmed their intent. Erica Mines of the Philadelphia Coalition for REAL Justice—known for challenging Bill Clinton about his crime bill at a rally in April—says her group and other black activists in the area will have a presence at the convention in late July. “We definitely plan on having a protest,” Mines told me.
The issues this time around aren’t solely the criminal-justice demands that Black Lives Matter and associated organizations like the Coalition for REAL Justice have made in the past. Mines told me she and fellow protesters are following Philadelphia’s strong tradition of activism and movements like Martin Luther King Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign, which his successor Ralph David Abernathy  led at the 1968 convention after King’s assassination. They are pressing some very Philadelphia-specific issues, in keeping with the decentralized and local nature of many black protest movements.
According to Mines, the most important issues are “economic development, housing, poverty, jobs, and the lack of funding in Philadelphia.” One policy specific to Philadelphia was a new regressive sugar tax passed by the city council that can add as much as a dollar charge to packs of soda. “We have this new sugar tax that’s not a good tax at all,” Mines said. It “falls on the backs of the poor and disenfranchised communities.” Philadelphia activists have also forged an identity that echoes the city’s history of radical black activism. A 1985* incident in which police helicopters dropped bombs on black activists in the radical MOVE organization shapes how groups there operate. “We are in direct relationship and solidarity with the MOVE Family,” Mines told me. That means protesting at the convention to free MOVE activists such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of murder in 1981 but who many black activists view as a political prisoner.
The plans in Philadelphia echo a familiar history of black protests at the Democratic conventions. But will that same spirit of protest also spur Black activists at the Republican Convention in Cleveland? The people planning it certainly think so. Planners in Cleveland have used much of the $50 million event grant from Congress on surveillance of black protesters and have purchased a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) for use in crowd control. The original anti-protest rules for the Cleveland convention were so strict that liberal and conservative grassroots joined forces to defeat them in court. But Cleveland-area groups affiliated with Black Lives Matter would not go on the record about any specific plans.
Black activism could be a major force in shaping or disrupting the agendas of both parties.
Their reticence to go on record reflects a fear of surveillance among black organizers. After numerous protests in Cleveland in 2015, FBI officials intimated that they were closely surveilling the city’s activists. The Secret Service has also rolled out a muscular intelligence apparatus in Cleveland in advance of the convention. While most of their efforts are dedicated to addressing threats of terrorism, law-enforcement officials are also monitoring the social-media activity of Black Lives Matter activists.
Despite the increased security, black protesters will almost surely show up. Cleveland became a center of black organizing against police brutality after police killed Tamir Rice in 2014. The city has also been the target of a Justice Department probe into police brutality. The first major Black Lives Matter conference was held in Cleveland last year, marred by an incident in which a transit officer pepper-sprayed demonstrators.
Not all black protesters who show up in Cleveland or Philadelphia will be working for the same exact goals. Shanelle Matthews, the director of communications for the Black Lives Matter network, said the organization does not publicize direct action in advance, and the conventions do not have a blanket significance nationally. “Because we’re decentralized and all of the chapters work autonomously, to each of the chapters in their regions [conventions] mean something different,” Matthews said. Some chapters or affiliates that choose to protest might focus on police violence. Others may focus on economic justice. Still others may focus on environmental justice.
This is a critical summer for Black Lives Matter as an organization and a broader movement—as Matthews notes, it is “still in its infancy.” Local activists are seeking to build their advocacy networks and figure out what causes and methods make sense for them. Both conventions will provide opportunities for Black activists to make their mark on electoral politics, if they are so inclined. “I think this is a time for us as black and brown people in this country to really understand what it means to be part of the democratic process,” Mines told me. “It is a pivotal time for us especially for the DNC and Philadelphia historically. Understanding this is the birthplace of democracy and this is a once in a lifetime thing, we have to get our issues addressed.”
While these activists will undoubtedly draw from the legacies of 1964 and 1968, the thoroughly decentralized, intersectional Black Lives Matter movement may well add something new to the history of protests and conventions. After months of being overshadowed by the election, Black protesters will likely make headlines again in July.

President Obama and Hillary Clinton are making their first joint campaign appearance

 By: The Associated Press

 

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Eight years after Hillary Clinton helped unite Democrats behind Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, he’s returning the favor. Obama and Clinton will make their first joint appearance of the 2016 campaign Tuesday in North Carolina, a state Democrats are eager to pull back into their win column in November. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will hold his own event in the political battleground a few hours later. The Democratic duo’s rally in Charlotte cements a new phase in their storied political relationship. They were bitter rivals in the 2008 Democratic primary but became colleagues when Clinton joined Obama’s Cabinet as secretary of state. Now, they’re co-dependents as Clinton seeks the White House once again.
Her chances of winning hinge on rallying Obama’s coalition to her cause. Obama’s legacy depends on her success. Aides to both say the foe-to-friend story will be at the center of the Obama-Clinton show Tuesday. In his remarks, the president will act as a character witness for his former adviser, who is struggling to convince voters of her trustworthiness and honesty. There is no better politician to testify on her behalf, many Democrats believe, than the man who once counted himself among the Clinton skeptics but came around to be one of her biggest boosters.
“I think that he can be very helpful, particularly with Democratic voters and some independent voters who have doubts,” said David Axelrod, the chief architect of Obama’s 2008 race for the Democratic nomination against Clinton. “He can do that by sharing his own experience. They were rivals, they had their differences; that gives him some additional standing.”
The Clinton campaign also is hoping that Obama’s presence at her side serves as a reminder of another, more popular chapter in Clinton’s career. For four years, Obama trusted her to circle the globe representing his foreign policy. She sat at his side in the Situation Room. She was the good soldier, putting aside her political ego to join the administration of the man who defeated her. During her tenure at the State Department she was viewed favorably by most Americans.
“As someone who was a former rival and came to put a lot of faith in her, we believe the president’s support for her is particularly meaningful to voters,” said Clinton campaign adviser Jennifer Palmieri.
The White House confirmed Monday that Clinton and Obama will travel to the event together on Air Force One. Clinton’s Republican presidential rival objected to the travel plan. “Why is President Obama allowed to use Air Force One on the campaign trail with Crooked Hillary?” Donald Trump tweeted. “Who pays?”
Presidents make all their airplane flights on Air Force One, no matter the purpose of the trip. Political committees are required to contribute to the cost of a president’s campaign-related travel, though a portion of such costs is borne by taxpayers, too. “As is the standard practice, the campaign will cover its portion of the costs,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said.
Obama makes his first campaign appearance with Clinton during a wave of popularity unlike anything he’s experienced since his first term. Clinton aides say they’re confident they could deploy him in any battleground state, though they believe he’ll be particularly effective in rallying young people, as well as black and Hispanic voters, and will be instrumental in voter registration efforts.
In a series of remarks in recent weeks, the president has proven himself to be one of the Democrats’ most effective critics of Trump. From his perch at the White House and on the world stage, Obama has regularly found ways to blast Trump’s message and mock his style. The mix of high-minded concern and sharp-elbowed sarcasm is widely viewed as an effective, tweetable model for other Democrats.
Still, Obama won’t spend the next four months as the “Trump-troller in chief,” as one official put it. Obama plans to take a largely positive message on the road as his campaigning picks up later this summer. That’s in part because he’s campaigning for the continuation of his agenda — as well as Clinton’s. On health care, immigration, financial reform and the environment, Clinton is largely promising a continuation or acceleration of Obama’s policies.
Obama and Clinton originally planned to make their first campaign appearance together in Wisconsin, a Democratic-leaning state where Clinton struggled in her primary fight with Bernie Sanders. Campaign aides viewed the rally as a way to forge Democratic unity after the bruising primary and consolidate the party’s voters in a state Clinton needs to carry in November.
But the June 15 rally was postponed due to the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. By the time the campaign and White House got around to rescheduling, Clinton aides said the landscape had shifted — they are now far less worried about bringing along Bernie Sanders voters and more interested in using the president to rally voters in one of the most divided general election battlegrounds.

New opposition in Zimbabwe launches campaign

Joice Mujuru and Robert Mugabe

 Joice Mujuru and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

June 27, 2016 (GIN) – Zimbabwe‘s former vice president, Joice Mujuru, was the headliner at a rally this week in Matabeleland in one of the first public events of the new Zimbabwe People First opposition party.    The newly-launched campaign promptly took on the incumbent – President Robert Mugabe – in advance of elections in 2018.   Mujuru accused the government of being disinterested in the plight of the majority and promised to fight for the interests of ordinary citizens. “Zimbabwe People First is a new democratic, inclusive political party that accommodates every Zimbabwean… Please, get it from me, I am not going back to Zanu PF”.A year ago, Mujuru began stitching together a platform, publishing plans to relax security and media laws and review divisive black empowerment legislation. She pledged to push for a free press and repeal restrictive media and broadcasting laws that ban private television stations and bar foreign journalists from working permanently in Zimbabwe.

Tough security laws that Mugabe has used against the opposition would also be removed, Mujuru said.

A veteran of Zimbabwe’s independence war against white minority rule, Mujuru was once seen as one of Mugabe’s closest allies. However, she was dismissed from her government and ruling party posts in December on charges that she led a cabal that planned to topple Africa’s oldest leader.

Meanwhile, a two-page Blueprint to Unlock Investment and Leverage for Development (BUILD) – has been circulated that reads like an election manifesto. “From the day we started, it was like we lit a matchstick at a gas station. Everyone was waiting for the formation of a party which is all inclusive even to those who were not interested in politics,” Mugabe’s former deputy said.

 

“When people heard there was a political party called People First they were saying ‘Mai Mujuru we were blaming ourselves asking what we were doing [in Zanu PF] when madzana mbwanana achitambwa nemazidinga aya’ [fools were playing with people’s lives],” she said.      Political commentator, Khanyile Mlotshwa, said Mujuru had a good chance to make an impression through her rally in Bulawayo. “Her rally will be packed, as long as her political commissars appeal to the people on the basis of her stature… If they play the woman card, they are likely to draw a lot of women, some of whom have never been interested in politics, to her party… ”    The ruling ZANU-PF party has already chosen Mugabe as its candidate for the 2018 presidential poll, when he will be 94

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campaign Challenge: Fix the African American student loan crisis

MARK PAUL, DARRICK HAMILTON, WILLIAM DARITY JR.

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton

This year’s presidential race has spotlighted an often-overlooked aspect of the student loan crisis: the disproportionate college debt burden shouldered by African American students. The average $71,086 price tag for higher education at a four-year public institution is already well beyond the reach of most middle-class families. But for African American students, the cost of college hits even harder. The average college debt for African American bachelor degree holders is $37,000, compared with just $28,051 for the average student who is white.
The problem stems from both and is compounded by racial disparities in wealth accumulation. The twin legacies of chattel slavery, when black people were economic assets, and discrimination—in particular the housing discrimination that for generations has denied African Americans access to the same generous mortgages that built so much of white wealth—have left black families with only six cents of wealth for every dollar held by the average white family. All this makes it harder for African Americans to finance their college educations and piles up student debt on black students—which, in turn, further exacerbates the racial wealth gap.
While nearly half of white students are able to fully cover college costs with their own earnings, family contributions, and federal financial aid, only 30 percent of black students are in the same boat. Among the relatively well-off students of both races who do enroll in college, black students are 25 percent more likely to accumulate student debt, and they borrow over 10 percent more than white students.
This added financial burden also makes the black students 33 percent less likely than their white counterparts to complete their degrees. Federal data show that 28.7 percent of black students who leave college after their first year do so for financial reasons. The upshot is that fewer black students begin college; even fewer graduate, and those who do graduate carry much heavier student debt loads than their white counterparts. Indeed, high college costs combined with low levels of wealth in black communities have helped push the four-year college completion rate of African Americans to less than half that of white students.
Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have proposed solutions to the African American student debt crisis, but from different starting points. Their contrasting plans reflect the stylistic and ideological divide between the two candidates. Clinton’s so-called College Compact appeals to education wonks with an arguably technocratic approach. Sanders’s far-reaching College for All Act, by contrast, expands both student opportunities and government’s role. There’s a predictable difference in the price tags, too: Clinton says her plan would cost $350 billion over a decade, mostly thanks to expanded grants to states and colleges. The Sanders plan would cost at least $750 billion over the same period, based on the campaign’s $75 billion-a-year estimate. He proposes funding it through a financial transaction tax overhaul that’s projected to create more revenue than is needed for his college plan.
The Republican candidates, for their part, have proposed plans that would actually exacerbate the student debt crisis by cutting or eliminating the Department of Education. Such cuts would hurt economic mobility for all students, particularly African Americans, and undercut national efforts to promote an educated and productive workforce.
Of the two Democratic proposals, the Sanders plan would do the most to help black students. Sanders’s College for All Act could be a selling point among African American voters, a bloc that until now has firmly favored Clinton. Clinton’s plan takes a modest step toward addressing the disproportionate student debt burden on low-income students, especially African Americans. But her approach follows the conventional model of making higher education more affordable by expanding Pell Grants to low-income Americans, awarding grants to qualifying institutions that meet federal criteria, and regulating predatory loan companies. This perpetuates the means-tested, competitive, accountability-based approach toward higher education exemplified by the now-defunct No Child Left Behind Act.
Sanders, by contrast, directly tackles persistent racial inequalities by making public colleges tuition, fee, and debt free. His plan would make higher education an American right, reopening access to public colleges and universities for all students. It would eliminate tuition and fees at all public colleges and universities, by default ending the federal government’s practice of raking in billions worth of profits from student loans. Sanders’s plan also would cut interest rates on student loans almost in half, saving more than $6,000 over four years for the average borrower seeking a bachelor’s degree.
Both candidates propose higher federal grants for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), but once again the Sanders plan would provide substantially more support. The College for All Act would direct $30 billion to private HBCUs and an estimated $1.5 billion annually to public HBCUs, compared with only $25 billion for all HBCUs proposed by Clinton.
Such institutions are key to helping break the cycle of disrupted education and poverty that high African American student debt perpetuates. In addition to offering African American students “stereotype safe” environments largely free of social stigma and racial animus, HBCUs have done yeoman’s work in educating black Americans constrained by limited economic resources.
HBCUs have accomplished this despite a long history of underfunding. In their mission to improve access to African Americans seeking an education, public HBCUs have kept their tuitions and fees to only 61 percent of the average cost of all public schools. These institutions play an essential role in making the higher education system truly inclusive.
Although black students are no longer barred explicitly from attending historically white colleges and universities, they still represent only a relatively small percentage of the student body at those institutions. For instance, about 28 percent of South Carolina’s population is black, yet black students make up only 10 percent of the student body at the University of South Carolina, the state’s flagship public university.
By contrast, the nearly 3,000 students enrolled at South Carolina State University, the state’s only public HBCU, are overwhelmingly (96 percent) black. Since more than three-quarters of students enrolled in Historically Black Colleges and Universities attend public (not private) HBCUs, a free public higher education plan will help ensure that no black student will be forced to forego higher education due to financial barriers.
Both Sanders and Clinton have helped spotlight the dire fiscal straits of African American college students. But in forwarding race-conscious plan that fulfills the a vision of college education as a right—a right that extends to all Americans regardless of income or wealth and regardless of race—Sanders has made an argument that will resonate directly with debt-burdened black students.

Obama urges rejection of violence at campaign rallies

By MICHAEL D. SHEAR and GARDINER
HARRIS, NY Times

Obama gives speech

President Obama delivers remarks on campaign

WASHINGTON — President Obama said on Tuesday that the violent scenes playing out at rallies for Donald J. Trump threatened to tarnish “the American brand,” and he called on politicians in both parties to reject them. Speaking at the Capitol for the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon with lawmakers, Mr. Obama did not mention Mr. Trump by name, but he criticized the protesters who have interrupted the candidate’s campaign events and the violent response from Mr. Trump’s supporters.
Violence has broken out at Trump rallies in Chicago, North Carolina and Ohio as protesters increasingly seek to disrupt the events.
On Friday, Mr. Trump canceled a rally in Chicago, sending thousands of people home, after his supporters clashed with protesters at an arena there.
Mr. Obama said the actions of both sides damaged American politics and the nation’s reputation around the world. Politicians should think of the effect their language has on children who are watching, he said.
“We should not have to explain to them this darker side” of the political system, Mr. Obama said as lawmakers — including the leaders of the Republican Party — sat nearby.
The audience remained hushed for Mr. Obama’s remarks, listening as the president turned to address the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, who was the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2012.
Mr. Obama told Mr. Ryan that he disagreed with him on most policy issues. “But I don’t have a bad thing to say about you as a man,” he said. Mr. Ryan nodded in agreement as Mr. Obama continued. “I know you want what’s best for America,” the president said.
Mr. Obama’s comments about the rallies echoed remarks he has made repeatedly about Mr. Trump, who is vying for the Republican presidential nomination, in the last several weeks. On Friday, Mr. Obama mocked him during remarks at a Democratic fund-raiser in Austin, Tex., criticizing Mr. Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail.
“We’ve got a debate inside the other party that is fantasy and schoolyard taunts and selling stuff like it’s the Home Shopping Network,” Mr. Obama said, referring to a news conference in which Mr. Trump showed off an array of products bearing his name.
The president said Republicans should not be surprised by the language Mr. Trump and some of his rivals were using in an effort to win the nomination.
“They can’t be surprised,” Mr. Obama said, “when somebody suddenly looks and says: ‘You know what? I can do that even better. I can make stuff up better than that. I can be more outrageous than that. I can insult people even better than that. I can be even more uncivil.’ ”
Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said Mr. Obama had decided to criticize Mr. Trump during the annual Capitol Hill celebration of Irish heritage because the camaraderie and fellowship at the event “is in stark contrast to the kind of vulgarity we see on the campaign trail.”
Mr. Earnest noted that the event celebrated immigration, an issue that has become politically toxic among Republican presidential candidates.
“After all, Irish immigrants have thrived in America,” Mr. Earnest said. Borrowing part of Mr. Trump’s slogan of “Make America Great Again,” he added: “The president has long believed that’s an important part of what makes America great.”
Mr. Earnest said Mr. Obama was likely to speak again about divisive campaign language.
“I think the president is concerned about the corrosive impact of the tone of the political debate,” Mr. Earnest said.
Responding to a statement by the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, urging Mr. Trump to condemn violence regardless of its cause, Mr. Earnest said Republican leaders should not condemn Mr. Trump’s divisive statements while also supporting his bid for the presidency.