Newswire:  U.S. Senate’s only Black Republican blocks Tom Farr from becoming a Federal judge

 By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Correspondent

Senator Tim Scott

On November 29, the U.S. Senate’s only African American Republican Senator, Tim Scott, announced he would oppose the nomination of Thomas Farr to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench. Scott’s blockbuster decision ended the chance of Farr’s nomination being confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Scott cited, “lingering concerns” on “issues that could affect [Farr’s] decision-making process as a federal judge.” “This week, a Department of Justice memo written under President George H.W. Bush was released that shed new light on Mr. Farr’s activities. This, in turn, created more concerns. Weighing these important factors, this afternoon I concluded that I could not support Mr. Farr’s nomination,” said Scott. The decision marked the second time Scott has blocked a Trump nominee to the federal bench. “Thomas Farr was the most polarizing, dangerous and biased nominee that we have seen put forth by President Trump. We applaud Senator Tim Scott for exercising independence in the examination of Farr’s disturbing record; a record influenced by the modern white supremacist machine that former North Carolina senator Jesse Helms pioneered, and one that demonstrated bias and a commitment to defending voter suppression efforts at every turn,” stated Kristen Clarke, President of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “Farr was the primary coordinator of the 1984 ‘ballot security’ program conducted by the 1984 Helms for Senate Committee. He coordinated several ‘ballot security’ activities in 1984, including a postcard mailing to voters in predominantly black precincts which was designed to serve as a basis to challenge voters on election day. Footnote 7, DOJ Memo, June 19, 1991. This revelation is singularly disqualifying,” wrote NAACP President Derrick Johnson. Sen. Scott’s decision was a dramatic one. A day before on November 28, he was nowhere to be found shortly before a vote to continue debate on the Farr nomination. Other Senators, as well as reporters, searched for Scott near the Senate floor before that procedural vote. Many assumed his support of moving the debate to a final vote meant he would support Farr’s nomination. That assumption was incorrect. Sen. Scott was joined by Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in wondering out loud about whether Farr should be on the federal bench. But Sen. Scott was the only one to announce he would vote against Farr on the floor.

Newswire : Mauritania ordered to end forced labor or lose trade benefits

 

Anti-slavery activists in Maritania

Nov. 5, 2018 (GIN) – Forced labor tolerated by the Mauritanian government was called a decisive factor in the U.S. decision this week to end favored nation trade status for the country as of January 1. “Forced or compulsory labor practices like hereditary slavery have no place in the 21st century,” said Deputy U.S. Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney. “This action underscores this Administration’s commitment to ending modern slavery and enforcing labor provisions in our trade laws and trade agreements. “We hope Mauritania will work with us to eradicate forced labor and hereditary slavery so that its eligibility in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) may be restored in the future.” President Donald Trump, according to a press release from the executive office, had determined that Mauritania was not making sufficient progress toward establishing the protection of internationally recognized worker rights. It went without saying that such criticisms from United States were least expected from a nation built on slavery, challenged over voting rights and currently dismantling the rights of workers to unionize, to safe working conditions, to freedom from discrimination, among others. At a public hearing last August, a representative of the AFL-CIO federation of unions in the U.S. affirmed that Mauritania was in violation of established worker rights to association and to bargain collectively. A ruling by the African Union earlier this year found that anti-slavery laws were not enforced and slave owners received lenient sentences for violating human rights. Mauritanian government spokesman Mohamed Ould Maham called the decision by President Trump “a betrayal of the friendly relations between our countries and a denial of our efforts” to roll back slavery practices. The West African nation insists the country is no longer home to slavery, but to “the vestiges of slavery”, including poverty, social and economic exclusion and unequal access to education for members of the country’s former slave class, known as Haratin. An estimated 90,000 people in the country of about 4.3 million still live in modern slavery conditions. Haratins are the largest minority group in Mauritania and among the most economically and politically marginalized, according to UNPO – the Underrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization. Public comments and hearing testimony related to the eligibility review are available online at www.regulations.govunder docket number USTR-2018-022.

Newswire : Civil Rights leaders address week of hate while also focusing on Nov. 6

 By Hazel Trice Edney

 

Maurice Stallard (69) and Vickie Jones (67) murdered at Kentucky Krogers .

(TriceEdneyWire) – As civil rights leaders and voting advocates around the nation prepared for the Nov. 6 mid-term elections last week, they suddenly found themselves embroiled with a string of hate incidents, culminating in arguably the most politically, racially, and ethnically violent week in recent American history. It started Monday, Oct. 22, when a string of public figures who have been verbally attacked by President Donald Trump – including five Black leaders – were discovered to be targets of pipe bombs, mostly addressed to them through the mail. By Oct. 29, as many as 15 bomb contraptions had been discovered. None reached their apparent targets. The addressees on the packages included former President Barack Obama, U. S. Rep. Maxine Waters, U.S. Senator Cory Booker, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, and former Attorney General Eric Holder – all critical of Trump. Others were sent to former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Joseph Biden, former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton, billionaires Robert De Niro and George Soros; former CIA Director John Brennan, former National Intelligence Director James Clapper, and Democratic donor Tom Steyer. Though none of the bombs exploded, the motive of terror – and possible death – were clear. Cesar Sayoc, 56, was arrested by the FBI in South Florida on Friday, Oct. 26. The Washington Post described Sayoc as a “former pizza deliveryman, strip-club worker and virulently partisan supporter” of President Trump. He was charged with a string of crimes connected with the bombs. Then, on Wednesday, Oct. 24, a White man was charged with shooting and killing two Black senior citizens at a Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky after he tried, but failed to enter a Black church. The two victims, Maurice Stallard, 69, and Vickie Jones, 67, were shot in the grocery store and the parking lot, respectively. The suspect, Gregory A. Bush, 51, was arrested shortly after the shooting. Amidst Bush’s rampage, a White witness said he pointed a gun at Bush and Bush looked at him and said, ‘Whites don’t shoot Whites.’ The FBI is now investigating the killings of Stallard and Jones and hate crimes. Ultimately, on Saturday morning, Oct. 27, the nation was devastated when hearing that 11 people had been massacred inside the Tree of Life Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh. The suspect, Robert D. Bowers, 46, was charged with 29 criminal counts; including using a firearm to commit murder, 11 counts of criminal homicide, six counts of aggravated assault and 13 counts of ethnic intimidation. He is also charged with a hate crime, the obstruction of free exercise of religious beliefs. Bowers was reportedly armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and three handguns. Witnesses said he shouted anti-Semitic slurs as he opened fire inside the house of worship. Six other people were wounded, including four police officers. Bowers, himself, was also injured by gunfire, and remains hospitalized this week. It is unclear whether he was shot by authorities or whether his injury was self-inflicted. Civil rights organizations, dealing with get out to vote and voter protection campaigns, quickly refocused to address the injustices and the threats. “The NAACP condemns the hate-inspired killings at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Our condolences go out to those who have suffered losses and injuries during this horrific event. Anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and hatred represent horrible stains on our democracy. When these stains are embraced by elected officials and demagogues who prey on the fears and lowest common denominators within our nation, we all suffer,” said a statement. “We must say no to hate, fear-mongering and the demonization of differences.” The NAACP continued, “It’s unfortunate that this tragedy follows the terroristic behavior of those who feel justified in sending bombs to those who differ politically. Our nation at its best represents inclusion and opportunity. This is one side of America, yet on the other side of America exists, the often embraced idea of using violence toward those with different political views. It’s a side our community knows all too well and continues to experience. We empathize with members of the Jewish Community attending a baby naming service at a synagogue, children at a school or being separated from parents at our borders or simple church-goers seeking to worship in peace– all of it is wrong and disheartening.” The Congressional Black Caucus issued a statement on the Kroger Grocery Store and the synagogue shootings simultaneously. “It brings me great sorrow to have to recurrently address the public and console our loved ones due to acts of grotesque, racially charged hate and pure evil,” said Rep. Cedric Richmond, CBC chairman. “This is not the United States of America that we should know, love, or grow accustomed to.” Richmond continued, “We cannot sit back and watch as bigots and racists take the lives of innocent Americans, and we must not stay silent while white nationalists continue to feel emboldened and empowered by the tacit approval of our highest form of leadership. At a time like this, it is clear that we must perform an audit of our core values, evaluate what we really stand for, and then take the necessary corrective steps to ending anti-Semitic and other racially charged acts of violence from becoming a common occurrence.” Despite the havoc of the week of hate, the terror was nothing new to Black people, Richmond noted. He wrote, “African Americans know well the deeply rooted pain also experienced by those in the Jewish community on the account of the flagrant racists and bigots that poison our country. Events ranging from the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama to the Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina, to the Freedom Summer murders in Mississippi, both African Americans and the Jewish community know what it is like to be targeted and routinely persecuted all in the name of fear and hate.” Painful reflections on the hate incidents played out through heartfelt posts on social media. Theodore Shaw, distinguished professor of law and director of University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights, who is also former director-counsel and president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, posted an extensive reflection on Facebook. “Yesterday, with all of the focus on the mail bombs sent to liberal/Democratic leadership, almost lost in the news was the Kentucky shootings of two African Americans by a white man who almost went into a black church to kill and maim African American worshipers. Today, in Pittsburgh, a hate-driven anti-Semite entered a synagogue and killed eleven people,” Shaw wrote “Jews, African Americans, Muslims, Mexicans, Central and South Americans, migrants, LGBTQ people, women, and others are objects of hatred and violence simply because of who and what they are. My heart aches for our country and what it is these days.” Shaw concluded with a skillful refocus on the upcoming election: “We cannot shoot our way out of this problem. Nor can we look to the individual who occupies the White House. He is part of the problem, not part of the solution. We have to express solidarity with one another and condemn hatred on all grounds. It is up to all people of good will to reject this madness, and to stand with any community targeted because of who and what they are. And to vote for those who share the values of inclusion, diversity, and, dare I say, the beloved community. And vote to turn out of office or stop the election of haters.”

Newswire: Three African-Americans running for Governor in three states

By Reginald Stuart, Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from the Richmond Free Press

Three candidates for Governor (TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Trump has angered and mobilized voters across the nation to the point that many have been challenged to turn out en masse this fall to register and vote for candidates who reject his oft time bitter rhetoric. For sure, Black Americans have clinched historic roles in the battle to halt and reverse President Trump’s agenda, with a record three African-American candidates running for governor this November in three states — Florida, Georgia and Maryland. Each is trying to return their state’s governorship to Democratic control. In the process, political analysts said, the three contenders represent a new chapter for the Democratic Party. They reflect the emerging leadership that is younger, more female, broadly diverse and socially progressive, according to analysts. With the exception of Maryland, their Republican opponents are hard-line Trump supporters, dissenting from his agenda quietly when they do. “All of these candidates are pragmatic progressives,” said Emory University political science professor Andra Gillespie, a Richmond area native who earned her degree at the University of Virginia. “They are hoping to present plans to address the economic anxieties of the average working family.” All three gubernatorial contests present distinct challenges to the contenders, regardless of party, based on the views of political analysts.In Florida, where Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum scored a surprise win in last week’s Democratic Party primary, the challenge is stitching together party leaders who all endorsed him after the primary contest, then raising interest among others. Gillum won only 34 percent of the vote to clinch the party nomination. He has to build from there. In Georgia, where Spelman College graduate and tax lawyer Stacey Abrams swept the Democratic primary decisively, winning 70 percent of the votes, the challenge is to continue her impressive campaign to register more historically unregistered voters and to get out the vote by knocking on doors house by house. As for champions backing her cause, Abrams, a former Georgia state legislator, has the support of former President Obama and civil rights icon and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. The Maryland contest, pitting former national NAACP chief Ben Jealous against current GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, presents a different set of tough challenges, analysts said. Not only did Jealous divide the Democratic vote to win the primary, he defeated Rushern Baker, chief executive of heavily Democratic Prince George’s County and one of Maryland’s most respected Democrats with a history in state government. Gov. Hogan had marginal competition in the Republican primary despite his repeated criticism of President Trump and solid opposition to most of Trump’s agenda. Gov. Hogan, a former Howard County executive, has enjoyed high bipartisan ratings during his four years of working with a Democratic-controlled state legislature. Jealous lacks strong broad-based Democratic support and trails Gov. Hogan by a long distance in fundraising. “They have a governor who is really popular in the state,” said Bowie State University government professor William Lewis. Gov. Hogan has been “very cautious” not to disrupt the civil, bipartisan relationship between leaders of the two political parties. All three gubernatorial candidates have plugged into the national network of African-American sororities, fraternities and other civic and social organizations to raise money for campaigns that could land them in the history books of their states. Former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, who in November 1989 became the first elected African-American governor in the nation, could not be reached to discuss the three new candidates. But political scientists who have followed Wilder’s career and public service offered some comparisons. Wilder, a longtime state senator who was elected Virginia’s lieutenant governor in 1985, was a seasoned politician who learned and earned political footing with years of public service, political scientists said. The record of service and his high profile in the state’s capital city made him easier to accept as the state’s leader, they said. Before his bid for governor, he had proven leadership skills and was a fiscal conservative, much like his Republican predecessors, analysts said. Also, the political climate in Virginia was more tolerant then than it is today, they said, attributing the souring climate to President Trump. “The younger generation of Blacks are beginning to percolate,” said historian Alvin Thornell, a veteran political scientist who spent decades at Howard University. “The older Whites have become inactive as illustrated in the recent political contests in New York and Massachusetts. They just were aging and dropping out.” The Democratic effort this election season will hinge on “New Deal” Democrats returning to the ranks as they did in the 1960, and the candidates’ and party’s success in recruiting and getting new voters to the polls, Dr. Thornell and other analysts said. They estimated nearly one-third of traditional Democrats have become conservative Republicans or dropped from political participation. This loss must be made up with new registration and participation efforts, like that launched in Georgia by Ms. Abrams.“All of these candidates see whites as part of their coalition,” said Dr. Gillespie, noting that Democrats need to build from the ancestors of traditional Democrats, continue courting Latino voters and register and get to the polls people who have not voted in the past.

Newswire:  HBCU millennials energized to vote!

 By Lauren Poteat, NNPA Newswire

Washington Correspondent

 

HBCU students participate in voter rally

During the contentious 2016 presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, voter turnout still proved to be at an all-time low among students who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). In a report released by Tufts University, 2016 voter turnout plummeted by more than 10 points at HBCUs — from 50.5 percent to 39.9 percent. Only two-years after the election of the very controversial and confrontational President Trump, Kamau Marshall, Director of African American Media and Deputy National Press Secretary ,Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), says that HBCU students are more active and energized to get their vote out and let their voices be heard than ever. Energizing this voting block will make a difference to the outcome of several very important contests this November. “With the Fall semester kicking off, there is a lot of momentum surrounding this very political climate,” Marshall said. “With November elections right around the corner, HBCU students are playing an active and important role when it comes to voting and voter registration.” Believing in hope and the possibility of change, many historically Black institutions across the nation are taking the reins when it comes to increasing voter awareness and registration among their student body. For example, Howard University, located in the heart of the nation’s capital, registered over 1,200 new voters during the month of August. “The more you get involved, the more your voice matters,” Amos Jackson III, president of the Howard Student Government Association (SGA) said. “That’s why it’s was so important for us to heavily promote voter registration. During our August Freshmen move-in day, we were able to register hundreds of new voters.” “There are a lot of issues up for debate, including higher education costs, gun reform and scholarship budgets, that directly affect millennials,” Jackson continued. “So, when people say that their vote doesn’t count, that’s definitely not true. Your vote matters.” Howard provides both new and returning students valuable information, including handouts on absentee ballots and voter choices. Howard students are also encouraged to sign up for a service known as “TurboVote,” an app that sends notifications about upcoming elections, an initiative whose success comes as no surprise to Marshall. “HBCU students are ready to support whoever has their best interest at heart,” Marshall said. “As an HBCU alum—history shows that HBCU students have always been engaged when it comes to the political process. The difference is always with likable candidates.” In states like Florida and Georgia, HBCU participation is at an all-time high, as students and other citizens eagerly await the hopeful election of productive new governors. In the state of Florida, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democratic, hopes to become the state’s first Black governor in his campaign against Republican Rep. Rob DeSantis. The race will be one of the most closely watched contests this November, since DeSantis has tied himself to President Donald Trump and defeated other more establishment Republicans. However, Gillum, a firm believer in Medicare for all, has the backing of progressives like Bernie Sanders and the Black community, who were largely responsible for his upset win during the state’s Democratic primary. In the state of Georgia, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution/Channel 2 Action News poll showed that Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is African American, and Republican Brian Kemp are deadlocked in their race at 45 percent each. Contests like those in Florida and Georgia are ammunition to Michelle Obama’s “When We All Vote,” campaign, which recently announced a series of upcoming “When We All Vote” rallies, targeting students at three HBCUs: Clark Atlanta, Morehouse and Spelman. “There is no time more important than now to be civically engaged and to exercise our right to vote,” Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman said in a statement. “Spelman students have been registering their classmates to vote since August—signing up more than one third of our first-year class as soon as they stepped on campus. We are excited about the energy and advocacy ‘When We All Vote’ will bring to the Atlanta University Center.” Though off-year elections are often seen as less important than those held during Presidential election cycles, Marshall insists that voting during this time November is just as important, particularly for Black millennials. “Voting impacts people’s everyday lives, including the cost of healthcare, investments in job-creation and community issues like gun violence prevention,” Marshall said. “It’s critical to vote now—in particular—because it’s clear that Republican-controlled Washington is not on the side of regular people, and we need a check and balance.” “It’s not just the president that can impact issues you care about, it’s also Congress,” Marshall continued. “No one can take anything for granted and we need everyone to turn out on November 6th.”

Newswire : On 50th Anniversary of King Assassination, We have work to do

 

NEWS ANALYSIS by Rev. Jesse Jackson

 

mlk

 Dr. ML King at 1963 March on Washington

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination comes amid a fierce struggle for the soul of America. We will celebrate the progress that has been made since Dr. King was taken from us in 1968, and decry the agenda that is still unfinished.
But we cannot ignore the systematic effort – from the highest offices of government – to roll back his legacy, to make America more separate and unequal, to reverse the progress of the last years. From the White House and across the great cabinets of the federal government, civil rights are being systematically undermined.
President Trump has set the tone personally, slandering immigrants and seeking to ban Muslims, while noting there were “very fine people” among the neo-Nazi marchers in Charlottesville. He pardoned former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, allowing him to avoid accountability for racially profiling Latinos. He terminated the Obama program that protected the DACA children, and sabotaged every bipartisan effort to protect these children who know no other country than the U.S. He called for NFL players protesting against discrimination to be fired, while slurring “s–hole countries” in Africa. In different departments, his appointees have moved relentlessly to roll back enforcement of civil rights, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions leading the way.
DOJ lawyers reversed their position on voting rights cases, like that in Texas, essentially opening the door for voter suppression. Sessions forced a review of Obama-era consent decrees with police departments, even as Trump praised brutal police tactics. He drastically limited the use of court-enforced consent decrees themselves, eviscerating the primary instrument of civil rights enforcement.
Sessions has also declared that civil rights laws protecting against workplace discrimination do not apply to transgender workers. His labor secretary disbanded a 40-year-old division enforcing laws against discrimination in the workplace. His education secretary, billionaire Betsy DeVos, disemboweled the department’s office of civil rights and pushed to move public funds to support voucher programs, while calling for deep cuts in the staff and budget of the education department.
His secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson, has gutted enforcement of civil rights and fair housing laws, at the very moment the department must disburse billions in disaster recovery Community Block Grants that could help reverse past wrongs. Carson even pushed to strike the words“inclusive” and “free from discrimination” from HUD’s mission statement.Abroad, Trump has expanded the endless wars without victory that King warned against.
He has slashed taxes on the wealthy and corporations while targeting basic programs for the vulnerable – from food stamps to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid – for deep cuts. He sought to repeal Obamacare, which would have deprived millions of health care.This is a direct and sustained assault on Dr. King’s legacy.
Dr. King fought for integration against discrimination. He marched for equal opportunity against entrenched inequality. He championed non-violence against violence. He campaigned for voting rights, knowing that democracy offered the best chance for change. He called for an end to the war in Vietnam, realizing that the bombs being dropped on Vietnam were landing in the poor neighborhoods of four cities.
At the end of his life, he was organizing a broad coalition of poor people, across lines of race, religion and region, to march on Washington to demand basic economic rights. No representative of the administration will appear in Memphis as we mark the anniversary of his assassination. More reason that a new generation must take up the mission of his life.He taught us that “change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.” He knew that the progress that the Civil Rights Movement was making would generate a fierce reaction. He called on us to “rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter, but beautiful struggle for a new world.” We have work to do.

Newswire : Black jobless rate is back up in January 2018

By Frederick H. Lowe

 

blackunemploymentgraph-jan2018
Graph of unemployment for 2018 (can be reduced to one colum

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – Less than a week after President Donald Trump used his bully pulpit–The State of the Union Address–to tell the nation that black unemployment had dropped to the lowest level ever recorded, the Black jobless rate went back up, although non-farm businesses added 200,000 new jobs in January, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.
President Trump said Jan. 30 “that unemployment claims hit a 45-year low. It’s something I’m very proud of. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded.”
December’s jobless rate for Blacks was 6.8 percent down from a high of 16.8 percent in March 2010. The jobless rate in December was the lowest since 1972 when BLS began reporting the employment rate for Blacks and Whites at monthly hearings of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.The drop, however, did not last long. It rose to 7.7 percent in January, according to BLS.
The jobless rate for Black men 20 and over was 7.5 percent in January compared with 6.6 percent in December. The unemployment rate for Black women 20 and older was 6.6 percent in January compared with 5.8 percent in December.The overall unemployment rate was 4.1 percent. Non-farm businesses added jobs in construction, food services, drinking places, health care and manufacturing added jobs.

Newswire : Obamacare Sign-ups at High Levels Despite Trump Saying It’s ‘Imploding’

By ROBERT PEAR, New York Times
Obamacare protest

 People protesting for Obamacare

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Thursday that 8.8 million people had signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace, a surprisingly large number only slightly lower than the total in the last open enrollment period, which was twice as long and heavily advertised.
The numbers essentially defied President Trump’s assertion that “Obamacare is imploding.” They suggested that consumers want and need the coverage and subsidies available under the Affordable Care Act, even though political battles over the law, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, are sure to continue in Congress and in next year’s midterm election campaigns.
Seema Verma, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reported the total in a Twitter post on Thursday. She said her agency had done a great job to “make this the smoothest experience for consumers to date.”
The number of people who signed up this year was 96 percent of the 9.2 million who selected health plans or were automatically re-enrolled through the federal marketplace in the last sign-up season.
“It’s a very, very strong number,” said Joshua Peck, who was the chief marketing officer for HealthCare.gov in the Obama administration. “It implies that the final week of open enrollment this year was very big.”
Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act this year had an unintended effect: They heightened public awareness of the law and, according to opinion polls, galvanized support for it among consumers who feared that it might be taken away.
“It’s incredible how many people signed up for coverage this year,” said Lori Lodes, an Obama administration official and a founder of Get America Covered, a nonprofit group.
But the strong demand for insurance through the Affordable Care Act could set off new efforts to dismantle the law.
The tax cut that Mr. Trump will soon sign repeals the Affordable Care Act’s tax penalties for most Americans who go without insurance, starting in 2019. The president said Wednesday that with elimination of the individual mandate, the health law is being effectively repealed, a statement that is untrue given the law’s expansion of Medicaid, the continued guarantee of coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the subsidies still available to millions of people with low or moderate income.
.
The sign-up numbers seemed to indicate that despite all the politics, millions need the insurance. Nearly half of all plan selections this year — 4.1 million of the 8.8 million — occurred in the last week of open enrollment. More than one-fourth of the people who signed up this year — 2.4 million — were new customers, and 6.4 million people returned to HealthCare.gov to select plans or were automatically re-enrolled.
Those large numbers came in the face of big challenges. Before the enrollment period, which ran from Nov. 1 to Dec. 15, many insurers announced big rate increases for 2018. The Trump administration cut the budget for advertising to promote enrollment and greatly reduced grants to insurance counselors, known as navigators, who help people sign up for coverage.
In the first nine months of this year, Republicans tried repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, continually criticized it and asserted that health insurance markets were collapsing. Mr. Trump highlighted huge increases in premiums without noting that many consumers were eligible for federal subsidies that help cover the extra cost.
The report Thursday shows sign-ups by people in 39 states that use HealthCare.gov. It does not include activity in 11 states that operate their own insurance exchanges and are also reporting strong enrollment. In some of those states, consumers have more time to sign up. The deadline is Jan. 14 in Minnesota, Jan. 15 in Washington State and Jan. 31 in California and New York.
In addition, people losing coverage because their insurer withdrew from the marketplace may qualify for a special enrollment period providing 60 additional days to sign up for a health plan.
More than 80 percent of people buying insurance through the marketplace qualify for subsidies to help pay premiums. The Trump administration said in October that the average subsidy in states using the federal marketplace would be $555 a month next year, up 45 percent from this year.
Among states using the federal exchange, the largest numbers of sign-ups this year were in Florida (1.7 million), Texas (1.1 million), North Carolina (524,000), Georgia (483,000), Virginia (403,000), Pennsylvania (397,000) and Illinois (340,000).
Federal officials reported a huge surge of activity near the end of open enrollment. In Florida, more than 700,000 people selected plans or were automatically enrolled in the final week, and in Texas, the number was more than 550,000.
Ms. Verma tried over the summer to persuade Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but on Thursday, she boasted about how well the law’s insurance marketplace — under new management — was meeting the needs of consumers.
The Trump administration, she said, spent only $10 million on marketing and outreach to consumers, or just over $1 for each person who signed up. By contrast, she said, the Obama administration spent a total of $100 million last year, or nearly $11 for each person who signed up.
Moreover, Ms. Verma said, the Trump administration “took a more cost-effective approach” that emphasized the use of digital advertising and email to reach consumers.
While cutting the budget for navigator groups, the Trump administration encouraged the use of insurance agents and brokers, saying it wanted to “shift away from the government selling a private product.”

Newswire – Report: Trump Administration labels Blacks concerned about police brutality as potential terrorists

By Frederick H. Lowe

demonstratorsshowmurderedbypolicesign
Demonstrators display Murdered by Police sign

Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from NorthStarNewsToday.com

(TriceEdneyWire.com) – The Trump administration, FBI and police unions have labeled Black men and Black women who are concerned, angry and distressed about the steady stream of news stories about White cops shooting to death unarmed Black men and not being held accountable for their actions, as possible terrorists who need watching because they may resort to violence in retaliation. The FBI labeled the Black men and Black women who are outraged over the deadly shootings “Black Identity Extremists,” (BIE), reported Foreign Policy magazine, which broke the story titled “The FBI’s New U.S. Terrorist Threat: Black Identity Extremists.
“Law enforcement calls it a violent movement. Critics call it racist.” Jana Winter and Sharon Weinberger wrote the article published in Foreign Policy’s October 6 issue. Foreign Policy reported Black Identity Extremists is a new term first appearing government documents nine days before the White supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11, where a counter demonstrator was murdered by a Alt-right supporter.
The FBI “assesses it is very likely that Black Identity Extremists perceptions of police brutality against African Americans spurred an increase in premeditated, retaliatory lethal violence against law enforcement and will likely serve as justifications to such violence.”
Except there is no “BIE movement but in the fertile mind of those within the Trump Administration,” reports The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, which covered the Foreign Policy article. The Brennan Center’s article was written by Andrew Cohen. “No journalist or academics have discovered and chronicled such a movement. No such leaders have come forward to say they are part of a movement. No one has killed a cop in the name of such a movement. The only citations to the movement, the Foreign Policy piece tells us, come from internal law enforcement writings made over the past two months,” wrote the Brennan Center. Knowledge about the alleged movement comes after Trump supported white racists who marched in Charlottesville.
Conversely, Trump called Black National Football League players who took a knee during the national anthem “sons of bitches” who should be fired because he claims they are disrespecting the American flag and members of the U.S. military, which was far from the truth. The football players are protesting the murders of unarmed black men by white police officers who claim they feared for their lives. So far this year, police and shot and killed 748 people including 168 African Americans.

Anti-police brutality sign

“In this sense, the report is the FBI’s version of the cynical “war on cops” argument that President Trump, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and police union officials have been pitching as a policy to justify ending the modest judicial reforms implemented by the Obama administration,” reported the Brennan Center. Foreign Policy cited the July 2016 shooting of 11 Dallas cops by Micah Johnson, a former U.S. Army reservist who was angry about police violence against blacks. The shootings occurred during a Black Lives Matter movement, but the FBI doesn’t mention the organization by name. “The tactic here is almost diabolical. To deflect legitimate criticism of police tactic to undermine a legitimate police protest movement that has emerged in the past three years to protest police brutality, the FBI has tarred the dissenters as domestic terrorists, an organized group with a criminal ideology that are a threat to police officers,” the Brennan Center said.
Critics argue Trump is shifting attention away from right-wing violence to countering Islamic terrorism. The Brennan Center asks if you become a member of BIE if you believe that police brutality is a significant problem hindering criminal justice? Do you become a member of the BIE if you believe that the police too often escape accountability for the use of excessive force on unarmed black civilians? Does the FBI consider every member of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which actually exists, a member of BIE? The Brennan Center then turns to former FBI Director James Comey who Tump fired. Comey has spoken about the FBI’s racist history. Under former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, special agents ginned up evidence that the civil rights movement was a communist plot. Under Comey, there was a major change.