Warren, Sanders Get Personal with Young, Black Christians

Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren framed their Democratic presidential bids in personal, faith-based terms Saturday before black millennial Christians who could help determine which candidate becomes the leading progressive alternative to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sanders, the Vermont senator whose struggles with black voters helped cost him the 2016 nomination, told the Young Leaders Conference that his family history shapes his approach to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the rise of white nationalism in the United States.

“I’m Jewish. My family came from Poland. My father’s whole family was wiped out by Hitler and his white nationalism,” Sanders said at the forum led by the Black Church PAC, a political action committee formed by prominent black pastors.

“We will go to war against white nationalism and racism in every aspect of our lives,” Sanders said, promising to use the “bully pulpit” to unite instead of divide. 

Warren, a Massachusetts senator and United Methodist, quoted her favorite biblical passage, which features Jesus instructing his followers to provide for others, including the “least of these my brethren.”

“That’s about two things,” Warren said. “Every single one of us has the Lord within us. …. Secondly, the Lord does not call on us to sit back. The Lord does not just call on us to have a good heart. The Lord calls on us to act.”

Sanders and Warren are looking for ways to narrow the gap with Biden, who remains atop primary polls partly because of his standing with older black voters. Polls suggest that younger black voters, however, are far more divided in their support among the many Democratic candidates.

The senators, both of whom are white, connected their biblical interpretations to their ideas about everything from economic regulation and taxation to criminal justice and health care.

“This is a righteous fight,” Warren said, who noted that she’s taught “fifth-grade Sunday School.”

Sanders, while not quoting Scripture as did Warren, declared that “the Bible, if it is about anything, is about justice.” His campaign, he said, is “not just defeating the most dangerous president in modern American history. We are about transforming this nation to make it work for all of us.”

Warren and Sanders received warm welcomes, with notable enthusiasm for their proposals to overhaul a criminal justice system both derided as institutionally racist and to eliminate student loan debt that disproportionately affects nonwhites. 

“They obviously tailored their message in a way that would resonate with this audience,” said Chanelle Reynolds, a 29-year-old marketing specialist from Washington, D.C. “But that means they spoke to issues and concerns that we care about.”

Reynolds described her generation of black voters – churchgoing or not – as more engaged than in the past, but cautious about choosing among candidates months before the voting begins. “I’m going to take my time,” she said, adding that “the last election, with Trump, shook us up, and we’re not going to let this one go by.” 

Indeed, the youngest generation of voters typically doesn’t shape presidential primary politics, for Democrats or Republicans. 

Impact of black voters

Black voters collectively have driven the outcome of the past two competitive Democratic nominating fights. But Barack Obama in 2008 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 built their early delegate leads largely on the strength of older black voters in Southern states with significant African American populations. 

Those states again feature prominently in the opening months of Democrats’ 2020 primary calendar, giving black millennials in metro areas such as Atlanta, along with Nashville, Tennessee, and Charlotte, North Carolina, a chance to wield their influence early in the process. 

Beyond the primaries, the eventual Democratic nominee will need younger black voters to flip critical states that helped elect Trump: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. 

“Anybody who’s not talking to every community, particularly within the African American community, you’re running a fool’s race,” said the Rev. Leah Daughtry, a pastor from Washington, D.C., and member of the Democratic National Committee, who co-moderated the Black Church PAC forum.

Three other 2020 candidates – Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, former Obama housing chief Julian Castro and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana – attended the conference on Friday. Booker and California Sen. Kamala Harris are the most prominent black candidates in the 2020 race.

Mike McBride, a pastor who was Daughtry’s fellow moderator, stressed that the black church and the black community as a whole are not monolithic. Democrats, he said, must reach beyond the traditional Sunday services in places such as South Carolina, the first primary state with a sizable black population. 

“We need candidates to show up on our turf, not always asking us to show up on their turf,” McBride said in an interview. 

Daughtry said all Democratic candidates were invited, and she noted the absence of other leading candidates, including Biden, who is attending campaign fundraisers in the Northeast this weekend.

“He missed an opportunity,” Daughtry said, to “make his case” to younger voters “who don’t know him like older folks do.”

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Sanders, Warren Among 2020 Candidates to Address Native Americans

For the first time in more than a decade, Native Americans have the opportunity to question presidential candidates on issues of importance to Indian Country.

“This is our chance to tell candidates that they can earn our votes,” said organizer O.J. Semans, co-executive director of the national Native American voting rights organization Four Directions.

FILE – O.J. Semans, of Rosebud, S.D., executive director of the voting advocacy group Four Directions, At a South Dakota Election Board hearing, July 31, 2013.

Nine presidential hopefuls, Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, former U.S. secretary of housing and urban development Julian Castro, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Montana Gov., Democrat Steve Bullock, Navajo pastor Mark Charles and author Marianne Williamson say they will participate in the Frank LaMere Native American Presidential Forum.

The two-day event opens Monday in Sioux City, Iowa. Organizers say invitations were extended to candidates from all major political parties, although so far only these nine candidates hoping to unseat President Donald Trump in the 2020 election have confirmed their attendance. The organizers also say talks are continuing with several other campaigns.

Mark Trahant, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribe and editor of Indian Country Today, will moderate a series of panels, giving tribal leaders and Native American youth a chance to air concerns and ask candidates questions on matters of particular importance to Native voters. 

‘We are here’

Semans expressed delight that many major news organizations will be covering the event.

“For two days, all of the United States is going to know we’re here,” Semans said. “We didn’t get wiped out, we are not extinct, and we have a political voice in which issues that until now have been set on the back burner are now going to be able to be discussed.”

Four Directions co-founder O.J. Semans, right, and Marcella LeBeau, whose ancestor died at Wounded Knee, June 25, 2019,

Of the hundreds of issues of importance to Native American voters, panelists will focus on two in particular, said Semans:

The Remove the Stain Act, which Washington Rep. Denny Heck introduced in the House in June as H.R. 3467. If enacted, the bill would rescind the 20 Medals of Honor awarded to members of the 7th Cavalry who on December 29, 1890, murdered nearly 150 Lakota in the Wounded Knee Massacre. The Medal of Honor is America’s highest military honor, given out to members of the armed services who demonstrate outstanding bravery and valor.

“Our second priority issue for the forum is missing and murdered indigenous women and children,” said Semans. “Women and children are sacred to our societies, and in order for us to maintain our societies and cultures, we must do what we were taught, which is to protect women and children, who we are losing in outrageous numbers.”

According to the U.S. Justice Department, Native women are 10 times as likely to be murdered as the national average, falling victim to domestic or drug-related violence, sexual assault or sex trafficking.

The National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center has called on lawmakers to expand tribal jurisdiction over cases of missing and murdered women and children; allocate more resources for victim services; improve data collection and expand tribal access to federal criminal databases, among other measures.

Earth Feather Sovereign, left, of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, playing drums and signing in the Capitol Rotunda after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill into law, Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Olympia, Wash.

“Actually, underfunding is the fundamental to all these issues,” said Semans. “We wouldn’t have to be discussing funding for our transportation or infrastructure, we wouldn’t have to have discussions on housing and health care and law enforcement if the federal government fully honored the treaties.”

In a related development, Sen. Elizabeth Warren announced Friday she will work with New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland (Pueblo of Laguna) on legislative proposals addressing chronic federal underfunding of tribes, as well as barriers to tribal sovereignty.

The federal government has a responsibility to write a new chapter in the story of its government-to-government relationship with tribal nations. Read my and @SenWarren‘s OP-ED in @IndianCountry: https://t.co/6dmxGrzswm

— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland) August 16, 2019

The last time Native Americans had a chance to speak directly to presidential candidates was in August 2007 at the “Prez on the Rez” forum on the Morongo Reservation in California. Only three candidates, all Democrats for the 2008 race, participated. Then-New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, former Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel took part.

This week’s forum is named for civil rights leader Frank LaMere, a citizen of the Winnebago tribe in Nebraska. He died in June.

Co-sponsors include the Native Organizers Alliance, the National Congress of American Indians and the Native American Rights Fund.

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Суд у Чернігові виправив по батькові Гримчака в ухвалі про його арешт

Деснянський суд Чернігова у справі заступника міністра з питань тимчасово окупованих територій Юрія Гримчака ухвалив рішення виправити по-батькові підозрюваного з «Михайлович» на «Миколайович» в ухвалі про запобіжний захід та вказати правильні ініціали його адвоката Тетяни Матяш. Відповідне рішення від 17 серпня юристка опублікувала на своїй сторінці у фейсбуці.

Згідно з документом, сторона захисту наполягала на тому, що ухвала, про яку йдеться, «стосується іншої особи», тож потрібно не виправляти щось у цьому тексті, а виносити нове рішення, а тим часом звільнити з-під варти Юрія Гримчака, про якого не йдеться у справі, та суд постановив залишити рішення про арешт з можливістю застави чинним.

Юрія Гримчака та брата його дружини Ігоря Овдієнка затримали 14 серпня ввечері у справі про вимагання 1,1 мільйона доларів хабарів за нібито сприяння в ухвалені рішень особами, уповноваженими на виконання функцій держави. Затримані наразі перебувають в ІТТ. Перед затриманням вдома у заступника міністра пройшов обшук. Їм інкримінують злочин, передбачений статтею 190 Кримінального кодексу України (шахрайство).

15 серпня Юрію Гримчаку та Ігорю Овдієнку оголосили підозру. За версією слідства, «бралися кошти на погодження проєктів будівництва та реконструкції будівель та споруд» і «вирішення цивільного позову у Верховному суді».

16 серпня Деснянський суд Чернігова обрав Гримчакові запобіжний захід у вигляді арешту на два місяці з можливістю застави у 6 мільйонів гривень. 

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Omar Rejects Netanyahu’s Claims About Itinerary

U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s assertions that she and fellow lawmaker Rashida Tlaib had no intention of meeting with Israeli officials before Netanyahu barred them from visiting Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank next week.

Omar posted her Israeli itinerary on Twitter Friday, which included meeting with Jewish and Arab members of Israel’s parliament and Israeli security officials.

Let’s be clear: the goal of our trip was to witness firsthand what is happening on the ground in Palestine and hear from stakeholders —our job as Members of Congress.

But since we were unable to fulfill our role as legislators, I am sharing what we would have seen. (THREAD)

— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) August 16, 2019

Israeli military veterans had planned to give the lawmakers a tour of Hebron where “settlement expansion has resulted in a two-tiered city, with Palestinians under military occupation forced to walk on the opposite side of the street from Israelis.” She said Israeli military veterans would have conducted the tour and talked about “their experiences with the occupation.”

The U.S. lawmaker said her delegation had also scheduled a briefing on the Bedouin community in East Jerusalem, while the United Nations was set to deliver a briefing on the effects of humanitarian aid cuts on Palestinians.

A video conference with Gazan youth was planned. Omar noted that Israeli officials do not allow members of Congress to visit Gaza.

Tlaib decides not to go

Earlier Friday, Tlaib had reversed her decision to travel to the West Bank, just hours after the Israeli Interior Ministry said it would allow the U.S. lawmaker to see her Palestinian grandmother on “humanitarian grounds.”

In a Tweet Friday morning, Tlaib said, “It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in — fighting against racism, oppression & injustice.”

Tlaib had written a letter to the Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri on Thursday, requesting admittance to see her grandmother, saying it could be the last opportunity to see her. In the letter, Tlaib said she would “respect any restrictions and not promote boycotts against Israel.”

Deri said in a tweet he had approved Tlaib’s request as a gesture of goodwill “but it was just a provocative request, aimed at bashing the state of Israel. Apparently her hate for Israel overcomes her love for her grandmother.”

Congresswomen denied entry

Israel had said Thursday it would deny both Tlaib and Omar entry, setting off a new round of controversy in the debate over U.S. support for its ally in the Middle East.

The two Democratic lawmakers have been vocal critics of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. They were set to visit Israel and several cities in the West Bank.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely told public broadcaster Kan on Thursday, “We won’t allow those who deny our right to exist in this world to enter Israel. In principle, this is a very justified decision.”

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted shortly before Thursday’s announcement, writing, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”

It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2019

Later in the day, Trump defended the Israeli decision. “I can’t imagine why Israel would let them in,” he said, repeating that the two lawmakers were “very anti-Jewish and very anti Israel.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president’s comments “are a sign of ignorance and disrespect, and beneath the dignity of the Office of the President.” Pelosi reaffirmed her love of Israel but said the move to deny entry to Omar and Tlaib “is a sign of weakness, and beneath the dignity of the great state of Israel.”

Omar and Tlaib’s frequent criticism of Israel has drawn accusations of anti-Semitism for months. Omar was condemned by the congressional leadership in her own party for invoking an offensive trope about Jews and money in social media postings earlier this year.

Omar said the Israeli government’s ban on her entry into the country prevented her from fulfilling her duties as a member of the U.S. Congress.

Tlaib tweeted a photograph of her Palestinian grandmother, who she said “deserves to live in peace & with human dignity.”

This woman right here is my sity. She deserves to live in peace & with human dignity. I am who I am because of her. The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a U.S. Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness b/c the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening. pic.twitter.com/GGcFLiH9N3

— Rashida Tlaib (@RashidaTlaib) August 15, 2019

Omar and the Palestinian-American Tlaib are supporters of BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), a nonviolent movement that seeks to economically pressure Israel into ending its occupation of the West Bank, among other goals. Some advocates of BDS support a single-state solution that critics say would lead to the destruction of the Jewish state.

The freshman members of Congress have repeatedly presented a challenge for the House Democratic leadership, as their outspoken statements on U.S. policy in the Middle East have drawn Trump’s attention.

Omar and Tlaib were two of four House Democratic freshman members of color whom the president has said should “go back” to their home countries. Omar, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, is the only one of the four who was born outside the United States. The president’s supporters chanted, “Send her back” after Trump mentioned the congresswoman at a rally earlier this year. The president later said he did not like those chants.

The Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in July condemning the BDS movement. Both Omar and Tlaib voted against that resolution.
 

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Trump Warns of Economic Downturn if He Loses Next Year

President Donald Trump is warning U.S. voters that the economy could crash if he is turned out of office next year. His warning came this week as he sought to reassure supporters in New Hampshire about the state of economy amid signs of a possible recession on the horizon, something analysts say could cripple his re-election hopes next year. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
 

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Trump Allies Push Back on Proposed Foreign Aid Cut

Two of President Donald Trump’s strongest allies in Congress pushed back Friday on his administration’s plans to slash some $4 billion in foreign aid that lawmakers have already approved.

In a letter, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Rep. Hal Rogers of Kentucky discouraged the president “in the strongest possible terms” from going ahead with the cuts to the State Department and United States Agency for International Development budget. The as-yet unsubmitted proposal is widely opposed by other Republicans and Democrats, but Graham and Rogers carry significant weight with the White House.

Ranking member Harold Rogers, R-Ky., speaks as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appears before a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing on budget on Capitol Hill, March 27, 2019, in Washington.

Graham is a frequent golfing partner of Trump’s and is chairman of the powerful Senate appropriations subcommittee that oversees State Department and USAID funding. Rogers is the top Republican on the corresponding subcommittee in the House. The top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate foreign affairs committees have also told the administration they oppose the cuts that are being planned under a procedure known as “rescission” and will take action to prevent them.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider this approach,” Graham and Rogers wrote. They said a cut to congressionally approved funding without serious consultation “only undermines our national security interests and emboldens our adversaries.”

The administration hasn’t yet formally announced that it will seek the cut, but the Office of Management and Budget, which last year unsuccessfully tried a similar move, has signaled it will try to return to the Treasury roughly $4 billion in unspent money appropriated for United Nations peacekeeping, development assistance, global health programs and military training.

Since taking office in 2017, the Trump administration has sought each year to slash foreign affairs funding by as much as 30% in budget proposals that have been soundly rejected by lawmakers from both parties in Congress.

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