GOP Senators Offer Searing Criticism of Trump, Reveal Party at War With Itself

Criticism of Trump
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., speaks during a television interview on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017. Flake announced he would not run for re-election in 2018, condemning in a speech aimed at President Donald Trump the “flagrant disregard of truth and decency” that is undermining American democracy. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A pair of senators from President Donald Trump’s own Republican Party blistered him with criticism Tuesday in a dramatic day of denunciation that laid bare a GOP at war with itself. Jeff Flake of Arizona declared he would not be “complicit” with Trump and announced his surprise retirement, while Bob Corker of Tennessee declared the president “debases our nation” with constant untruths and name-calling.

Corker, too, is retiring at the end of his term, and the White House shed no tears at the prospect of the two GOP senators’ departures. A former adviser to Steve Bannon, Trump’s ex-strategic adviser, called it all “a monumental victory for the Trump movement,” and Trump himself boasted to staff members that he’d played a role in forcing the senators out.

It was a stunning rebuke of a sitting president from prominent members of his own party — and added to a chorus of criticism of Trump that has been growing louder and more public. Flake challenged his fellow senators to follow his lead, but there were few immediate signs they would.

At midafternoon, as fellow lawmakers sat in attentive silence, Flake stood at his Senate desk and delivered an emotional speech in which he dissected what he considered his party’s accommodations with Trump and said he could no longer play a role in them.

“We were not made great as a country by indulging in or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorifying in the things that divide us and calling fake things true and true things fake,” he said.

Hours earlier, Corker leveled his own searing criticism of Trump in a series of interviews.

“I think the debasement of our nation will be what he’ll be remembered most for and that’s regretful,” Corker said.

A furious Trump didn’t let that pass unremarked. On Twitter, he called Corker “incompetent,” said he “doesn’t have a clue” and claimed the two-term lawmaker “couldn’t get elected dog catcher in Tennessee.”

An overstatement to be sure, but White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in regard to the impending retirements, “The people both in Tennessee and Arizona supported this president, and I don’t think that the numbers are in the favor of either of those two senators in their states and so I think this was probably the right decision.”

Away from the cameras, Trump took credit for helping force the two departures, according to a White House official and an outside adviser, who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

Until Tuesday, Flake had insisted he had no plans to retire. He was raising money at a good rate and casting his re-election campaign as a test case of conservatism against Trumpism. But he made clear Tuesday he’d concluded that, for now at least, Trumpism had prevailed.

“It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to the nomination in the Republican Party,” he said.

Corker’s retirement plans also underscore the question of what the Republican Party will look like in years to come. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has warned that some candidates running with the backing of Trump allies could not win general elections. And even if they make it to the Senate, certain conservatives could make McConnell’s job even harder as he tries to maneuver legislation through a narrow majority that now stands at 52-48.

Steven Law, head of a McConnell-allied super PAC that supports GOP incumbents and establishment-aligned candidates, wasted no time issuing a statement declaring that Republican former state Sen. Kelli Ward, who was running against Flake with the encouragement of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, “will not be the Republican nominee for this Senate seat in 2018.” Many fellow Republicans had expected Flake to lose the primary and hope they will now be able to recruit a stronger candidate.

There was celebration in the Bannon anti-establishment camp. Said Andy Surabian, former Bannon adviser and now senior adviser to the Great America Alliance “Today’s announcement from Sen. Flake that he would not run for re-election is a monumental win for the entire Trump movement and should serve as another warning shot to the failed Republican establishment that backed Flake and others like them that their time is up.”

Talking principle rather than politics, Flake said on the Senate floor, “We must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it, because it does. I plan to spend the remaining 14 months of my Senate term doing just that.”

Earlier Corker had said of Trump, “His governing model is to divide and to attempt to bully and to use untruths.” He said that he and others in the party had attempted to intervene with Trump over the months, sometimes at the behest of White House officials, but “he’s obviously not going to rise to the occasion as president.”

“Unfortunately I think world leaders are very aware that much of what he says is untrue,” Corker said.

In between the broadsides from Corker and Flake, Trump himself made a rare visit to the Capitol to join GOP senators for their weekly policy lunch. Senators said he did not joust with Corker or anyone else — or spend much time talking about a tax overhaul, the expected topic for the lunch.

Tax overhaul is an urgent task for Republicans who’ve failed to notch a single significant legislative achievement this year despite controlling the White House and both chambers of Congress. Trump did discuss it, yet it was hardly his focus.

Instead, senators said, he mixed in a review of accomplishments so far on the regulatory front and others. At one point, he essentially polled senators on whom he should nominate as the next Federal Reserve chairman, asking for a show of hands on various candidates. He tweeted later that he had received “Multiple standing ovations!”

McConnell sidestepped reporters’ questions about Corker’s characterization of Trump.

“We’re going to concentrate on what our agenda is, and not any of these other distractions that you all may be interested in,” he said.

However, even for Republicans who had no intention of seconding Flake’s comments, the import of the day’s developments was not lost.

“It’s counterproductive when Republicans are battling amongst themselves,” said Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Source: Black info

Senate GOP Votes to Repeal Consumer Rule Allowing Class Action Lawsuits Against Big Business

Repeal Consumer Rule
Vice President Mike Pence speaks on tax reform at the American Enterprise Institute, Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a further rollback of Obama-era regulations, the Republican-led Senate voted narrowly to repeal a banking rule that would have allowed consumers to join together to sue their bank or credit card company to resolve financial disputes.

Vice President Mike Pence cast the final vote late Tuesday to break a 50-50 tie. The banking industry had been lobbying hard to roll back the regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau had moved to ban most types of mandatory arbitration clauses found in the fine print of agreements consumers often enter into when opening a checking account or getting a credit card.

The vote reflects the effort of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to undo regulations that the GOP argues harm the free market. The measure now moves to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the president applauded the vote.

“The rule would harm our community banks and credit unions by opening the door to frivolous lawsuits by special interest trial lawyers,” Sanders said.

Democratic lawmakers said the CFPB’s rule would have given consumers more leverage to stop companies from financial wrongdoing. They cited the sales practices at Wells Fargo and the security breach at credit company Equifax as examples of misdeeds protected through forced arbitration.

“So who does forced arbitration help? Wall Street banks and other huge corporations that never pay the price for cheating working people,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Richard Cordray, director of the consumer bureau, said: “Tonight’s vote is a giant setback for every consumer in this country. Wall Street won and ordinary people lost. This vote means the courtroom doors will remain closed for groups of people seeking justice and relief when they are wronged by a company.”

Republicans said the arbitration system has worked “wonderfully” for consumers. They said the payouts for the average consumer in arbitration cases are generally much larger and come more quickly than when compared to the relief gained through class-action lawsuits.

“The effort to try to characterize this as some devious system that has been created to try to stop consumers from having access to fairness is simply false,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, the Republican chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “We have a very fair system that has been working for over 100 years in this country.”

Crapo said the average pay-out for consumers in class-action lawsuits against financial companies was just $32, but lawyers stood to make millions.

Democrats argued that consumers generally don’t have the time and means to pursue claims in arbitration, and since most disputes revolve around small amounts, they typically just give up. They said banks and other financial firms know that in the end they won’t have pay a real price for taking advantage of a consumer.

But class-actions would serve as a powerful tool for consumers, they said.

“Once again, we’re helping the powerful against the powerless,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as the Senate neared the vote, sensing the Democrats would lose.

Two Republicans sided with Democratic lawmakers to keep the rule — Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

The advocacy group Consumers Union and several veterans groups, including the American Legion, lobbied to keep the rule. They said consumers would still have the option to use arbitration to resolve a dispute if both parties want to go that route.

“Without the CFPB rule, consumers can be forced into a rigged system where they have no recourse. It’s a disgrace,” said Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, an advocacy group that works to improve the legal system.

The American Bankers Association cheered the Senate vote. “Today’s vote puts consumers first rather than class-action lawyers,” said Rob Nichols, the group’s president and chief executive officer.

Source: Black info

Venezuela Opposition Governors Take Oath of Office Before Before Controversial Assembly

Opposition Governors Take Oath
This Oct. 18, 2017 photo shows a spray-painted message on a wall that reads in Spanish; “I will not vote,” next to the name of opposition gubernatorial candidate Carlos Ocariz, in Guarenas, Venezuela. Polls favored Ocariz to win handily in Sunday’s election, but his opponent, a pro-government candidate won. A similar trend played out on a statewide level and across much of the nation as opposition candidates were hurt by high abstention rates in their strongholds. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Four of the five opposition governors recently elected in Venezuela took an oath Monday before leaders of the all-powerful, pro-government constitutional assembly, reversing an earlier refusal and underlining fractures in the opposition.

The small ceremony in Caracas came less than a week after the opposition governors boycotted a swearing-in event at the constitutional assembly’s chamber. Throughout the campaign, opposition candidates said they would never yield to socialist President Nicolas Maduro’s demand that any newly elected governor take an oath and “submit” before the constitutional assembly.

Opposition leaders and dozens of foreign governments consider the assembly unconstitutional.

After initially refusing the oath, the opposition governors pressed their local legislative councils to swear them into office, as the Venezuelan constitution dictates. But the constitutional assembly, which has ruled with virtually unlimited powers since being elected in July, decreed that local councils could not swear any governor into office before they first took an oath before the assembly.

The move put the governors in a tight spot: Continue to refuse and risk losing their offices or be sworn in at the cost of caving in on a firmly held position.

Images released by the government on Twitter showed the newly elected governors of Anzoategui, Merida, Nueva Esparta and Tachira state holding up their right hands during a ceremony with Delcy Rodriguez, the assembly’s president and one of Maduro’s fiercest allies.

The elected governor of Zulia, Juan Pablo Guanipa, refused to participate, leaving up in the air what will happen in Venezuela’s largest state.

On Twitter, two of the sworn-in opposition governors appeared to defend their decision. Tachira Gov. Laidy Gomez said the “humiliation of a leader” can be a means of achieving freedom. Anzoategui Gov. Antonio Barreto said that in order to resolve the nation’s crisis they were making “the biggest of sacrifices.”

While some supporters emerged online to defend them, both governors were met with an onslaught of criticism from disappointed Venezuelans.

“Traitor!!!!!” one woman angrily wrote.

According to the Electoral Council, opposition candidates won just five of the 23 governorships up for grabs in Oct. 15 elections that the opposition had been projected to dominate.

Opposition leaders are disputing the results, claiming the Electoral Council committed fraud through a series of maneuvers designed to give government-backed candidates an edge. In Bolivar state, the Democratic Unity Roundtable has presented evidence of possible ballot tampering.

Andres Velasquez, the opposition’s candidate for governor in Bolivar, said the four opposition governors who took the oath deserve “full repudiation” by Venezuelans.

The squabbling over the oath seemed certain to sow further discord among members of the opposition, who have struggled to put forward a united message since the regional elections. While thousands of Venezuelans frustrated with their nation’s triple-digit inflation, high crime and food shortages participated in four months of protests earlier this year, more recently the opposition has struggled to mobilize supporters.

Official election results show thousands in opposition strongholds did not participate in the vote.

Source: Black info

California’s Chief Justice Calls for End to Cash Bail

End to Cash Bail
FILE – In this March 23, 2015, file photo, California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye delivers her State of the Judiciary address before a joint session of the Legislature at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. California’s  (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California’s top judge said Tuesday that she wants to do away with the state’s cash bail system, adding a powerful voice to criticism that it keeps poor people behind bars while wealthier suspects can pay for their freedom and increasing pressure on state lawmakers to pass a bail reform measure.

The bold proposal endorsed by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (ta-NEE’ kahn-TEEL sah-kah-OO-weh) would instead rely on assessments of defendants’ flight risk and danger to the public to determine whether they should be released. Judges could order weekly contact with a pretrial services officer, monitoring, home confinement, or other restrictions and would have the authority to hold suspects in the most serious cases.

The proposals are contained in a report by the judiciary and will require legislative approval to go into law. Cantil-Sakauye, a Republican appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, said the report should serve as a framework for discussions with Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature.

“I support the conclusion that California’s current pretrial system unnecessarily compromises victim and public safety,” she said in a statement.

The proposal is likely to face fierce opposition from the bail industry. Similar bail reform measures approved in New Jersey and New Mexico have faced lawsuits.

The centuries-old cash-bail system has become one of the flashpoints in the debate over equal justice. Critics argue that many poor defendants languish in jail for minor offenses while wealthy suspects accused of serious crimes can often post bail while awaiting trial.

“Thousands of Californians who pose no risk to the public are held in jail before trial,” said Brian Back, a judge in California’s Ventura County who co-chaired the judicial group that proposed the bail reforms in the state.

Opponents of scrapping cash bail say it ensures people show up to court. Bail is money or property that can be forfeited if suspects fail to appear.

A bail reform bill was approved by the state Senate in the most recent legislative session, but its author, Democratic Sen. Bob Hertzberg of Van Nuys, said he would have had to make additional compromises to get it through the Assembly before the Legislature adjourned in mid-September.

Top state officials promised to study the issue and try again next year. Brown, a Democrat, has said inequities exist in California’s bail system and pledged reform.

Herzberg said in a statement Tuesday that he looked forward to moving his legislation forward next year. He said opponents of the measure had urged lawmakers to hold off on it to await the recommendations of the judiciary. He said now the judges “have ruled: We must replace money bail because it is unsafe and unfair.”

The chief justice made headlines earlier this year when she clashed with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly over immigration arrests at courthouses, saying the practice would affect the public’s confidence in the court system.

Source: Black info

Mother Says Refusal to Grant ‘Regular’ Sexual Favors to White Detective Led to Wrongful Conviction of Her Son

Wrongful Conviction
Lamonte McIntyre, who was imprisoned for 23 years for a 1994 double murder in Kansas that he always said he didn’t commit, walks out of a courthouse in Kansas City, Kan., with his mother, Rosie McIntyre, after the district attorney dropped the charges. Kansas legislators expect to consider proposals next year to make it easier for people wrongly convicted of major crimes to win compensation from the state. (Tammy Ljungblad /The Kansas City Star via AP, File)

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Rose McIntyre says she wonders whether her refusal to grant regular sexual favors to a white detective prompted him to retaliate against her black son, who spent 23 years in a Kansas prison for a double murder he didn’t commit.

“I do believe that if I had complied with his request for me to become his ‘woman,’ that my son would likely not be in prison,” she said in a 2014 affidavit.

Her son, Lamonte McIntyre, 41, walked out of a court hearing on Oct. 13 a free man after Wyandotte County District Attorney Mark Dupree asked that charges from the 1994 murders be dismissed because of “manifest injustice.”

The case has outraged, but not surprised, the poor black community of Kansas City, Kansas, and highlights why many African-Americans do not trust police and the U.S. criminal justice system.

“In my community, this is a norm,” Lamonte McIntyre said Saturday in a telephone interview. “We are not shocked or surprised at the injustice or the brutality … of law enforcement. This is an everyday life for us.”

Documents made public during an 8-year effort to exonerate Lamonte McIntyre allege homicide detective Roger Golubski used his power to prey for decades on African-American women, including Rose McIntyre. They also accuse the prosecutor in the case, Terra Morehead, of intimidating witnesses who told her McIntyre was not the killer. And they say the presiding judge, Wyandotte County District Judge J. Dexter Burdette, had a romantic relationship with the prosecutor before the trial that neither disclosed at the time.

None of them has faced discipline. Golubski rose through the ranks to detective and captain. He retired from law enforcement last year. Morehead is now a federal prosecutor in Kansas City. Burdette is still on the bench.

Golubski’s attorney, Paul Morrison, did not respond to multiple phone and email messages left at his law office seeking comment. Morehead did not respond to an email and the U.S. attorney’s office declined comment. Burdette did not return a message left at his office.

Lamonte McIntyre was 17 when he was given two life sentences for the 1994 murders of Doniel Quinn, 21, and Donald Ewing, 34. They were shot in broad daylight as they sat in a car in a drug-infested neighborhood of Kansas City. No physical evidence linked him to the crime, and he didn’t know the victims.

When police showed eyewitnesses a photo lineup of five people to identify the shooter, three of those photos were Rose McIntyre’s relatives — her two sons and a nephew.

At the trial, two planned eyewitnesses to the murders told Morehead when they saw Lamonte McIntyre in person that she had the wrong man, according to court filings. Niko Quinn signed an affidavit that she lied on the stand because Morehead threatened to have her arrested and have her children taken away if she did not testify. Morehead sent the other witness, her mother Josephine Quinn, away without calling her to testify. Those exculpatory statements were not disclosed at the time to Lamonte McIntyre’s defense lawyers.

Another witness, Ruby Mitchell, signed an affidavit attesting to her fear of Golubski. On the ride in the police car to the station to identify the suspect after the shootings, Golubski made sexual comments to her and asked if she dated white men, according to the affidavit.

Rose McIntyre recounted in her affidavit that Golubski coerced her into a sexual act in his office in the late 1980s and then harassed her for weeks, often calling her two or three times a day, before she moved and changed her phone number.

“He had total power, and I was terrified that he would try to force me again to provide sexual favors,” she said in the affidavit. “I also knew that there was no one I could complain to, as Golubski was known to be very powerful in the community and in the police department.”

Golubski was so involved with black female prostitutes and drug addicts that he fathered children with some of them, according to an affidavit from retired police officer Ruby Ellington, a 25-year Kansas City police department employee.

“Roger Golubski’s involvement with them was no secret,” Ellington said. “It was simply accepted as part of what Roger Golubski was able to do without repercussion.”

Kansas City Police Chief Terry Zeigler said in an emailed statement that the FBI looked into Golubski’s conduct and could not find any incidents within the statute of limitations, which is five years for such allegations. They consider the matter closed. Zeigler added that he worked with Golubski and “never saw anything that caused me concern.”

A leading expert on legal ethics said the romantic relationship between the judge and prosecutor amounted to judicial misconduct and also deprived Lamonte McIntyre of his constitutional right to a fair trial.

“It is hard to imagine a circumstance in which a judge’s impartiality would be more open to question than where a judge has been intimately involved with counsel for a party — in this case, the government prosecutor,” wrote Yale Law School attorney Lawrence Fox, in a report to help exonerate McIntyre.

Community activists are calling for independent investigations. The Wyandotte County district attorney’s office said it has asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to look into the case.

The Midwest Innocence Project is taking “a hard look” at more than a dozen suspect cases in their database that involved Golubski, said Tricia Bushnell, the group’s executive director and co-counsel for McIntyre.

“This is an entire community that has suffered,” Bushnell said. “And until we hold all of these different parts of the system accountable, none of them get justice.”

Source: Black info

Madagascar’s ‘Black Death’: Why This Deadly Plague Outbreak Is Different From the Rest

Health officials have begun disinfecting affected areas of Madagascar to control for infected rodents and insects that can spread plague. (Photo by RIJASOLO/AFP/Getty Images)

Health officials in the Southeast African island nation of Madagascar are struggling to contain a deadly plague outbreak that has claimed the lives of 94 people this year and left several hundred others severely ill.

Madagascar’s Office of National Risk and Emergency Management Office reported Tuesday, Oct. 17, that the number of plague cases on the island had doubled to a total of 805 in just the past week. As of last week, there were only 320 suspected and confirmed cases of the infectious disease.

The pneumonic plague, also known as the Black Death, remains an endemic in Madagascar, which usually sees around 400 cases in the September–to–April outbreak season, HuffPo reported. However, world health officials are especially concerned this time, considering the major differences of this recent outbreak from outbreaks past.

The first case was reported earlier this year on August 23, and the deadly disease has since spread to infect more than 800 people on the island. A large majority of the infections — over 70 percent — have been pneumonic, meaning they’re airborne and can be spread from person to person via saliva droplets from coughing and sneezing. This makes the strain far more dangerous and infectious, as it spreads far faster than bubonic plague, which is typically passed by infected rats and fleas.

The Guardian noted that the bubonic plague, which can spread to a person’s lungs and attack their lymphatic system, can become pneumonic if left untreated. Of the 684 cases reported earlier this month, 474 were pneumonic, 156 bubonic and one septicemic, the news site said.

“It is a dangerous moment,” Elysée Ratsiraka, mayor of port city Toamasina, told the News Mada website. “You can leave your house today and catch the plague tomorrow. What are we supposed to do today … and tomorrow? That’s the question facing us.”

Among health officials’ other concerns is the fact that the pneumonic plague outbreak has hit several areas outside Madagascar’s remote impoverished communities, which typically see the deadly disease. The World Health Organization has called it a “disease of poverty” because it’s driven in part by unsanitary living conditions and a lack of health facilities.

The nation’s densely populated capital of Antananarivo is among one of the hardest hit areas, however, which is highly unusual. With an estimated 2.7 million people in the busy metropolis, the risk of transmission is dramatically increased.

“Unfortunately, we are seeing cases in urban areas,” Julie Hall, chief of staff at the Int’l Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told Al Jazeera. “Many of those urban areas are very crowded with poor sanitation, a lot of people living very closely next to each other. So, that makes it more of a concern when you have spread from person to person.”

While a plague program has been in place in Madagascar for decades, government efforts to help fight the disease have been “hampered by operational and managerial difficulties,” according to a recent report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Health officials have taken a number of steps to keep the plague from spreading, including issuing travel advisories for international travelers, fumigating affected areas for insect and rodent control and raising awareness among health care workers to improve case detection and infection control procedures.

Still, not everyone is feeling safe.

Fear over rapid spread of the disease and the growing number of deaths has prompted the WHO to ship more than 1.2 million doses of antibiotics and $1.5 million in emergency relief to help quell the plague. The organization also said it is appealing for an additional $5.5 million to effectively respond to the outbreak and help save lives.

Locals grappling with the plague and in fear of contracting it themselves have resorted to buying masks or self-medicating, The Guardian reported, but health officials have tried to instill a sense of calm.

“Plague is curable if detected in time,” said Dr. Charlotte Ndiaye, WHO Representative in Madagascar. “Our teams are working to ensure everyone at risk has access to protection and treatment. The faster we move, the more lives we save.”

Officials believe the outbreak started in August when a 31-year-old man thought to have contracted malaria traveled from the central highlands through Antananarivo, according to Al Jazeera. The man actually had the pneumonic plague and wound up infecting a number of people he’d come in contact with. He ultimately died in the taxi he was travelling in, and four of the 31 people he infected died shortly afterward.

Though the plague has been commonly linked to poverty-stricken areas with unsanitary conditions, it still has a tendency to pop up in well-to-do nations — like the United States. In August of this year, fleas carrying the bubonic plague bacteria, Yersinia pestis, were found in Arizona and other parts of the American Southwest. There were also two human cases of the disease in New Mexico earlier that summer, Business Insider reported.

Still, the U.S. only sees handful of cases each year compared to the 400 on average in Madagascar.

The number of pneumonic plague cases are expected to rise in the coming weeks within Madagascar, health experts say, with little risk of spreading outside the country.

“We hope that we won’t see [more Madagascar] outbreaks,” Hall said. “With our increasing population and particularly increasing urban population, this may well be another wake-up call to really invest in proper sanitation and proper infrastructure.”

Source: Black info

How Sanele Junior Xaba Is Using His Platform to Give Back to Tanzanians with Albinism

albinism model
Sanele Junior Xaba wants to help orphanages in Tanzania. (Per-Anders Pettersson/Getty Images)

South African model Sanele Junior Xaba wants to use his unique appearance to shake up the fashion industry. At 21, he’s faced his fair share of obstacles with albinism and he’s not letting that get in his way.

“I’ve had situations where casting directors have said, ‘No thanks, we’ve worked with Shaun Ross already,” he told The Guardian of having to compete with other models with albinism like Ross, who appeared in Beyoncé’s “Pretty Hurts” video. “Well, it makes me want to say, ‘How many white models have you used this week?’ They’re not all considered to be the same person.

“I realize it sounds a bit ‘Zoolander,’ but I want to play my part to promote diversity in the industry. The commercial end of fashion is crucial as it dictates what’s cool, and the idea of cool is changing drastically. It feels more inclusive, but it can still do a whole lot better.”

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And Xaba wants to do his part to inspire others with albinism. While 20,000 Instagram followers and nearly as many Twitter followers have been exposed to his movement, he knows there are communities whose lives are at risk for something they cannot help. According to estimates from the United Nations, at least 75 people with albinism were killed in Tanzania between 2000 and 2015. One in 1,400 of the population is affected by the congenital disorder, and children can be targeted for their limbs, which are then sold on the black market, according to Global News.

“There’s a whole industry run by so-called spiritual leaders,” Sanele said.

He’s planning to visit Tanzania with the Dutch charity Inside The Same, which works on behalf of individuals with albinism.

“The charity provides the kids with sunscreen and medical treatment because a lot of them have skin cancer,” Xaba said. “Now that I’ve realized I can use my looks to raise awareness and to challenge the perceptions and stereotypes about the condition, I’ve started to take a lot more pride in my own albinism.”

Source: Black info

Buju Banton –I want to be loved

Buju Banton ruled the underground through most cities. You could not go to a party without hearing the mighty voice of Buju “Gargamel” Banton. Buju had a endless barrage of lyrics and an uncanny timing..In the reggae dance hall field in my personal opinion only Shabba Ranks and Possibly Super cat had greater timing and rode the rhythm like no other but that’s up to debate. Buju is a legend and he my be coming home from his incarceration..I don’t know why he was caught around that poison but regardless. He seemed like the was lured and setup,,, Everyone makes mistakes and if Buju is indeed is trying to pursue a path of integrity we should welcome the Banton’

US Diplomat Apologizes After the Top Indonesia General Denied Entry

Indonesia General Denied Entry
FILE – In this Wednesday, July 8, 2015 file photo, Indonesian Armed Forces Chief Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo pose for a photo after his swearing-in ceremony at the presidential palace in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia’s government is seeking clarification from the U.S. after Nurmantyo was denied entry to the country. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim, File)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A U.S. diplomat apologized to Indonesia’s government Monday after the top Indonesian general was prevented from traveling to Washington, but a Jakarta official said the country expected a complete explanation.

Erin McKee, deputy U.S. ambassador to Indonesia, did not explain why Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo was prevented from boarding a flight to the U.S. but said the matter had been resolved.

In Washington, Department of Homeland Security spokesman Dave Lapan said Gatot was unable to board his flight due to delays arising from “U.S. security protocols.” The issue with his boarding approval was quickly resolved by U.S. authorities and he was rebooked on another flight but chose not to travel.

McKee met Monday with Indonesia Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi and said she apologized. U.S. Ambassador Joseph Donovan also offered an apology, according to a statement Sunday from the embassy. He is currently visiting a remote part of Indonesia.

Relations between the U.S and Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, are generally friendly. Indonesia’s military has a checkered human rights record, but Nurmantyo has not been accused of rights abuses.

“We deeply regret the inconvenience that this incident caused and we apologize,” McKee told reporters.

“There are absolutely no issues with his ability to travel to the United States. We welcome him. The embassy is working very hard to understand what happened,” she said.

Marsudi said Indonesia still expects the U.S. to provide a more complete explanation.

“I’ve said that it was not enough. We still need an explanation of why the incident happened,” she told reporters.

Nurmantyo and his wife had planned to leave Indonesia on Saturday but were told by their airline shortly before departure that U.S. customs would deny their entry, according to military spokesman Wuryanto, who goes by one name.

Nurmantyo had been invited by Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to attend a conference in Washington on countering extremist organizations.

Wuryanto said that Nurmantyo, his wife and an entourage of four officials had U.S. visas and that Nurmantyo last visited the U.S. in February 2016.

Lapan, the homeland security spokesman, said the U.S. government “is dedicated to ensuring that all persons traveling to the United States are screened and properly vetted. We regret that the passenger and his wife were inconvenienced.”

Source: Black info

19 States to Ask Judge to Keep Health Subsidies Cut By Trump

Health Subsidies
Donald Trump (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The top lawyers for 19 states will urge a federal judge Monday to force President Donald Trump’s administration to pay health care subsidies he abruptly cut off earlier this month.

State attorneys general, led by California Democrat Xavier Becerra, argue the monthly payments are required under former President Barack Obama’s health care law, and cutting them off will harm consumers.

Trump’s Health and Human Services Department announced earlier this month that the administration will cut off payments known as cost-sharing reduction. Trump has said Obama’s law is imploding and has criticized the subsidies as insurance company bailouts. The White House says the government cannot legally continue paying the subsidies because there is no formal authorization from Congress.

However, the administration had been making monthly payments even as Trump threated to cut them off to force Democrats to negotiate over health care. A bipartisan effort in Congress to restore the payments has run into opposition.

The payments reimburse insurers for the costs of lowering copays and deductibles, which they’re required to do for low-income customers who buy coverage through the health care marketplaces created by Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The states argue that the Trump administration violated a law requiring government agencies to obey existing statutes and follow orderly and transparent procedures.

“He’s threatening access for millions of Americans to decent quality health care, and it’s time for him to stop playing this game because for too many people it’s not a game,” Becerra said last week.

The states are asking U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria, an Obama appointee, to force the Trump administration to continue making monthly payments while the case is litigated, which will take months.

Democratic attorneys general have forcefully pushed back against Trumps agenda in the federal courts, looking to stymie the president’s attempts to roll back Obama’s policies on the environment, healthcare and immigration.

The states joining California in the lawsuit are: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, along with the District of Columbia.

Source: Black info

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